A Baltimore County restaurant has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation class action lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency has announced.
The EEOC alleged the owner of the Windsor Inn sexually assaulted a female employee, harassed other female workers and made offensive comments, including requests for sexual favors, to female employees.
The restaurant also suspended an employee who filed a discrimination complaint after rejecting the owner’s advances, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore in January.
“Unfortunately, sexual harassment remains a serious problem in the workplace, including the restaurant industry,” said Spencer H. Lewis Jr., director of the EEOC’s Philadelphia district, which has jurisdiction over most of Maryland. “EEOC is committed to ensuring that no employee is subjected to sexual advances or harassment in order to earn a living.”
The employee who was allegedly sexually assaulted, who is identified in the lawsuit only as “Jane Doe,” was eventually forced to quit due to the continued harassment and abuse, the complaint states.
Another employee, Keysha Costley, was suspended for a week after she refused the owner’s advances, the suit alleged. The restaurant retaliated against her after she filed a charge with the EEOC by denying her requests to work additional hours, the suit states.
The three-year consent decree, which was filed last month, requires the Windsor Inn to pay $200,000 to Doe, Costley and a class of female employees who have worked at the restaurant since January 2013 and were subject to harassment.
The restaurant did not admit to wrongdoing in the decree, which also requires it to retain an independent monitor to investigate complaints of harassment and retaliation in the future.
The Windsor Inn will also implement and distribute sexual harassment and retaliation policies to employees, and will post a notice about the settlement.
“We are pleased that we were able to resolve this matter amicably,” EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said in a statement last week. “The monetary relief will compensate the victims for the egregious sexual harassment they endured, and the equitable relief, in particular, the hiring of an independent monitor who will receive and handle any harassment or retaliation complaints, will protect the rights of all of the restaurant’s employees.”
The EEOC will compile the names of class members and will decide how the monetary damages will be distributed, the consent decree states. If the entire $200,000 is not distributed to class members, the restaurant will donate the remaining amount to the House of Ruth, a nonprofit that helps victims of domestic violence, the decree states.
The case is U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. R.V. Associates Limited, d/b/a Windsor Inn, 1:16-cv-00197-RDB.