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June 17, 2013 / Akinyemi Ajayi

Panda Express Slow to Remedy Sexual Harassment: EEOC Steps In

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has reached a settlement with fast-food chain Panda Express after an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment toward several female teenagers at a Hawaii location.  Sexual harassment is the bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors.

The settlement requires Panda Express to pay out $150,000 which will be divided by three former employees and the Panda Express must now hire an in-house equal employment opportunity coordinator.  The coordinator is mandated because it was revealed that the former female employees reported complaints to their supervisors, who took no action to resolve the issues and remedy the hostile workplace the women had to endure.  Lastly, Panda Express was forced to revise its policies regarding all types of harassment, as well as provide annual training regarding these policies to all Hawaii managers and employees at the Kapaa location, where the sexual harassment occurred in this case.

Under federal law, Title VII of the Civil rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C., §2000e et seq.) makes it unlawful for any employer to maintain a hostile work environment where an applicant or employee is harassed because of that person’s sex.  Additionally, Title VII also protects employee who speak up and complain to management about such treatment in the work place. California has embodied the federal law by passing the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

There is no place for sexual harassment or any other form of harassment in any workplace. Sexist and demeaning language and/or conduct, like those seen here, poison the work environment and create a serious emotional toll on affected employees. If you or anyone you know has been unlawfully harassed in the workplace, contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation.

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