- Carrabba's Italian Grill agreed to pay $690,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced Thursday.
- EEOC said the restaurant violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when a managing partner sexually harassed female workers.
- Carrabba's payout will be distributed to the workers, according to the commission. The settlement requires the restaurant to implement a new sexual harassment policy and new sexual harassment investigation procedures. It also must provide training to HR and management officials.
Sexual harassment has long plagued the restaurant industry, but EEOC has indicated that the problem's persistence won't deter the agency's efforts against it.
"This case makes clear that sexual harassment remains a serious problem," EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows said of the Carrabba's settlement in a statement. "It's critical that employers have effective policies and programs to prevent workplace harassment. The EEOC remains committed to helping employers understand and meet their legal responsibilities, but will continue to file impactful lawsuits when necessary to protect the rights of workers."
In the last year, EEOC had multiple dealings with restaurants over sexual harassment problems. Del Taco agreed to pay $1.25 million last December to settle the agency's allegations that women dealt with "almost daily" sex harassment. In March, EEOC sued IHOP claiming that women, including teenage employees, faced sexual harassment at work. Chipotle similarly settled EEOC claims that a worker was fired for flagging a co-worker's sexual misconduct in August.
As one EEOC officer remarked in the Carrabba's announcement, policy changes and training can help prevent sexual harassment. Following several years of sex harassment complaints, McDonald's announced this year that it would require anti-harassment training at all restaurants in 2022. The training is set to impact some 2 million employees. Previously, the restaurant launched an anonymous sexual harassment hotline to combat workplace misconduct.