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Fast food chain Del Taco to pay $ 1.25 million to settle sexual harassment lawsuit

Fast food restaurant chain Del Taco settled a complaint filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for its handling of sexual harassment complaints, agreeing to pay $ 1.25 million and accept a consent decree to provide training to company wide on anti-discrimination laws to guard against harassment. and retaliation.

The consent decree, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Monday, also said the company should retain an EEOC supervisor for workplace discrimination, review its policies on discrimination on workplace and create and maintain a harassment complaint tracking system. .

The agency sued Del Taco in 2018 on behalf of a group of employees, all young women, who said at least three men they had worked with in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., In communities across the region, some of whom were in supervisory positions, made sexual comments to them. almost every day and touched them inappropriately. Some women filed a formal complaint with the company, either with its human resources department or with its toll free number, but no action was taken.

According to the EEOC complaint, the company retaliated by reducing the number of hours scheduled for one of the women. She and others in costume quit their jobs due to the hostile work environment created by the comments and inappropriate behavior.

Del Taco Restaurants acknowledged the settlement in a statement, writing, “The safety and well-being of our employees is always a top priority, and we take any allegation of harassment very seriously. We have fully cooperated with the EEOC throughout their investigation and the issue has been resolved. Additionally, we conducted an internal investigation and took appropriate action. We remain committed to providing a safe environment for all employees and customers, free from harassment of any kind. “

The terms of the consent decree will remain in effect for three years, and Del Taco is due to publish a plastic notice of the terms of the decree in all of its approximately 600 locations in 16 states. The external monitor will also perform checks to determine whether supervisors and managers encourage employees to report harassment.

“Younger employees can be particularly vulnerable to workplace harassment,” Rosa Viramontes, director of the EEOC’s Los Angeles district office, said in a press release. “It is important that employers recognize this and create policies and practices that ensure a safe and harassment-free work environment.”

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