EEOC Sues Long John Silver’s for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Centralia Restaurant Subjected Female Employees to Unwanted Touching and Sexual Advances, Federal Agency Charges

CHICAGO – Long John Silver’s violated federal law when it subjected female employees at its Centralia, Ill., restaurant to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. The federal agency said that the company failed to stop harassment by two male restaurant employees and also retaliated against one female employee who objected to the harassment.

The EEOC’s pre-suit investigation revealed that two male supervisors subjected female employees, including at least one who was a minor at the time, to unwanted touching and sexual advances. One of the victims repeatedly reported the harassment to management. Rather than taking corrective action in response, however, Long John Silver’s reduced her hours.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. LJS Opco Two, LLC d/b/a Long John Silver’s, Civil Action No. 3:21-cv-00717-SPM) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on June 25, 2021 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Stephen P. McGlynn. The EEOC is seeking full relief, including reinstatement, back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and other measures to prevent sexual harassment of employees in the future.

Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, said, “Long John Silver’s had ample opportunity to stop the harassment and failed to do so. By looking the other way, it put its employees in harm’s way and its company at risk for this lawsuit.”

Chicago District Director Julianne Bowman added, “The EEOC is committed to addressing sexual harassment in the food service industry, particularly where the victims are vulnerable workers such as the teenagers targeted in this case.”

According to company information, Long John Silver’s operates 190 fast food restaurants throughout the United States that specialize in seafood.

The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC’s Youth@Work website (at http://www.eeoc.gov/youth/) presents information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination, including curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) | Attorney Advertising

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