Owner Created Racially and Sexually Hostile Work Environment and Retaliated Against Employee Who Complained, Federal Agency Charged
NEW YORK – American Glory Restaurant Corp. will pay $65,000 and furnish other relief to settle a race harassment and retaliation discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, American Glory’s owner and president repeatedly subjected Black employees to racist comments and slurs. He also assigned Black employees to less desirable job duties, on one occasion noting that such work was “what a Black man should be doing.” When one of the affected employees complained, American Glory cut his hours drastically, forcing his resignation.
The EEOC further alleged that the owner subjected female employees to sexual harassment, which included leering, unwelcome physical contact, and crude sex-based comments.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating based on race and sex and from retaliating against workers who object to discrimination.
The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York in September 2020 (EEOC v. American Glory Restaurant Corp., Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-01184), after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case was litigated by EEOC trial attorney Renay Oliver and supervisory trial attorney Nora Curtin.
In addition to the monetary relief, the three-year consent decree resolving the suit requires American Glory to provide anti-discrimination and harassment training, including intensive interactive training for its owner; revise its EEO policies; engage the services of an independent monitor to visit the restaurant on a regular basis; and receive and investigate complaints of discrimination and retaliation and report the same to the EEOC. American Glory also agreed not to rehire a manager who participated in the harassment. The EEOC will monitor American Glory’s compliance with these obligations for the next three years.
“The EEOC takes seriously its responsibility to enforce federal law and hold employers to account,” said EEOC’s Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the New York District Office. “We appreciate American Glory’s recognition of its own responsibility to provide a harassment- and retaliation-free workplace, including its willingness to engage an independent EEO monitor and provide intensive training to its owner, the alleged harasser.”
New York district director Judy Keenan added, “Company leaders set the tone for their workplace culture, and when they actively engage in harassment, their companies can be held strictly liable.”
The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.