The EEOC reports that it has sued an Illinois IHOP franchisee for sexual harassment. While the allegations are bad, what makes this case worse is the allegation that the store owner ignored his employees’ complaints because the accused harasser was a close relative.
From the EEOC:
According to the EEOC’s suit, … more than 11 female employees at the Glen Carbon IHOP were subjected to unlawful sexual harassment including regular and repeated sexual touching and grabbing, lewd sexual comments and requests for sex, and offensive and threatening gestures. The general manager at the Alton restaurant made lewd and offensive comments to a male cook about his genitals and propositioned him for sex. Although the owner and managers were aware of the pervasive and egregious sexual harassment at both restaurants, they failed to investigate or take any action to prevent or stop the unlawful harassment, according to the suit.
A lawsuit is merely a collection of unproven allegations, and the EEOC could be pursing false leads, but these allegations are horrific. Indeed, as stated by James R. Neely, Jr., the district director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District, “The sexual harassment in this case is particularly disturbing because it involved the general managers of both restaurants, both of whom were close relatives of the owner, and the owner declined to take any action.”