“…the (kitchen) supervisor subjected the workers, some of whom were between the ages of 17 and 19, to sexual comments, language and advances, the EEOC said. Upon reporting the harassment to the general manager, the EEOC said, Panda Express management failed to take enough action to stop or correct the situation…”
Chinese quick service restaurant giant Panda Express will pay $150,000 to settle an EEOC lawsuit on behalf of at least three female teenagers who were allegedly sexually harassed between 2007 and 2009 while working in a restaurant in Kauai, Hawaii, the federal agency announced today.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in September 2012 in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (EEOC v. Panda Express, Inc. and Panda Restaurant Groups, Inc., Case No. 1:12-cv-00530-SOM-RLP) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. As part of the settlement announced today, the parties entered into a two-year consent decree requiring Panda Express to designate an in-house equal employment opportunity (EEO) coordinator; revise and distribute its anti-harassment policy and procedures; and provide annual sexual harassment training to all employees in Kapaa and to all general managers in the state of Hawaii. EEOC will monitor compliance with the agreement, and Panda Express agreed to reinforce its protocols relating to complaints of sexual harassment in its Hawaii region.
“We commend Panda Express for working with the EEOC to correct serious lapses in dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which includes Hawaii in its jurisdiction. “We trust that Panda Express’s company values are consistent with the goals of the EEOC’s mission, and we commend them for agreeing to broader injunctive remedies to ensure that the workers in Hawaii are protected.”