$150,000 Settlement in Sexual Harassment Case Against Panda Express, Training Ordered

 
Thursday, May 30, 2013
 

Question:  Would sexual harassment training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

Chinese quick service restaurant giant Panda Express will pay $150,000 to settle an EEOC lawsuit on behalf of at least three female teenagers who were allegedly sexually harassed between 2007 and 2009 while working in a restaurant in Kauai, Hawaii.

According to the EEOC, one male kitchen supervisor at the Panda Express in Kapaa, Kauai, sexually harassed some females on staff over four years ago.  The supervisor subjected the workers, some of whom were between the ages of 17 and 19, to sexual comments, language and advances, the EEOC said.  Upon reporting the harassment to the general manager, the EEOC said, Panda Express management failed to take enough action to stop or correct the situation.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed its lawsuit in September 2012 in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (EEOC v. Panda Express, Inc. and Panda Restaurant Groups, Inc., Case No. 1:12-cv-00530-SOM-RLP) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  As part of the settlement, the parties entered into a two-year consent decree requiring Panda Express to designate an in-house equal employment opportunity (EEO) coordinator; revise and distribute its anti-harassment policy and procedures; and provide annual sexual harassment training to all employees in Kapaa and to all general managers in the state of Hawaii.  EEOC will monitor compliance with the agreement, and Panda Express agreed to reinforce its protocols relating to complaints of sexual harassment in its Hawaii region.

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