Dairy Queen Franchise operator, YS&J Enterprises, Inc.,  will pay $17,500 and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (EEOC v. YS&J Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Dairy Queen, Civil Action No. 1:11 CV 01103),

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit,  18-year-old Chastity Hill-Cox was harassed by a male cashier.  The EEOC contends that male cashier spoke explicitly about his sexual encounters, and made several sexual gestures in which he simulated sex acts. The lawsuit further alleges that the cashier called Hill-Cox offensive gender-based epithets  on a frequent basis.

Hill-Cox complained about the harassment to the restaurant manager, but management failed to stop the harassment.  According to the lawsuit, Hill-Cox’s mother called the Winston-Salem police to report the harassment. The suit further claims that while the police were present at the restaurant responding to Hill-Cox’s complaint, the manager fired Hill-Cox, stating that Hill-Cox was “causing too many problems” for the restaurant.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District. “Further, employers are liable when they fail to address harassment once they have knowledge that such behavior is occurring, and cannot fire employees who complain. We are pleased with this resolution.”

EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Tina Burnside added, “Employers have a clear legal duty under federal law to respond to discrimination complaints and ensure that the unlawful conduct stops”.

If you have been the victim of harassment or wrongful termination, please give my office, The Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman a call at (877) 449-8898.