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More Than Baby Back Ribs: Chili’s Allegedly Serves Up Sexual Harassment in Colorado

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continues to aggressively file sexual harassment cases across the country.  Recently, the EEOC filed a federal lawsuit against a Chili’s restaurant in Colorado on behalf of several female servers and hostesses who allege the restaurant’s managing partner and assistant manager routinely made sexual comments to them.  They allegedly complained and their hours were reduced.  The case is currently pending in the District of Colorado.

For employers, this case serves as a good reminder.  The #MeToo movement is going strong and the EEOC continues to target cases with allegations of sexual harassment.  This means employers with sexual harassment allegations must take them seriously and not stick their head in the sand. 

Conduct an investigation.  Take appropriate corrective action.  While there may be no finding of wrong doing, there is likely at a minimum a cultural problem that needs fixing.  If there is wrong doing, take action! Do not be the next subject of an EEOC press release.

For everyone involved, the best medicine is proactive prevention.  Train your supervisors and your employees on sexual harassment, even if you are not legally required to do so.  Encourage reporting of complaints and concerns.  You are much better off learning of a problem from an employee rather than waiting to learn about it from the government.  As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Brody and Associates regularly provides training and counseling on maintaining a harassment free environment and on employment law issues in general. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.