Sonic Drive-In Sued by EEOC for Sexual Harassment

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

Male Manager Subjected at Least Three Teen Female Carhops at Mineola Eatery to Verbal and Physical Abuse, Federal Agency Charges

DALLAS — At least three teen female carhops were subjected to sex harassment by SDI of Mineola, LLC, doing business as Sonic Drive-In, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, a Sonic co-manager subjected several young female employees to a hostile work environment. The offending co-manager made daily crude sexual comments and sexual propositions to female employees and subjected them to unwelcome physical touching. Even after the sexual harassment was reported to management, no responsive or remedial actions were taken. Instead, the offending harasser was given a promotion, the agency charged.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race and color. The EEOC filed suit, Civil Action No. 6:21-CV-00226, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. In this case, the EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief, including an order barring Sonic from engaging in discriminatory treatment in the future.

“Preying on young women is bad enough,” said Joel Clark, a senior trial attorney in the EEOC’s Dallas District Office. “Here, even after the sexual harassment was reported to management, Sonic did nothing to protect these women. The EEOC is here to stand up for their rights.”

EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Eduardo Juarez said: “Managers have a responsibility to provide a workplace free from sexual harassment for all of the employees under their supervision, especially teen workers, who are particularly vulnerable to this kind of abuse.”

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.

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