Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cheesecake Factory Settles EEOC Suit in Case of Severe Same-Sex Sexual Harassment


Cheesecake Factory Settles EEOC Suit in Case of Severe Same-Sex Sexual Harassment

Restaurant Chain Will Pay $345,000 to Six Male Employees Who Agency Alleged Were Repeatedly Sexually Assaulted
PHOENIX – Cheesecake Factory, Inc., a nationwide restaurant chain that touts itself as a place to create “lasting memories with family and friends,” will pay $345,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that six male employees were subjected to repeated sexual harassment at the company’s Chandler Mall location.
In its lawsuit (EEOC v. Cheesecake Factory, Inc., CV 08-1207-PHX-NVW), the EEOC charged that Cheesecake knew about and tolerated repeated sexual assaults against six male employees by a group of male kitchen staffers. The company denied the allegations. However, according to the agency, the evidence overwhelmingly showed that the men suffered sexually abusive behavior, including abusers directly touching victims’ genitals, making sexually charged remarks, grinding their genitals against them, and forcing victims into repeated episodes of simulated rape. Managers witnessed employees dragging their victims kicking and screaming into the refrigerator, the EEOC charged.
Complaints to virtually every manager at the restaurant were made, but they never put a stop to it. Victims felt helpless, the agency said, and one finally had to call the police.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.

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