Plantation Florida IHOP Owner Ordered to Pay $70,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit

The owner and manager of a Plantation IHOP will pay $70,000 to settle federal secual harassment suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

The owner denies he did anything wrong with female employee who said he repeatedly asked her for dates, kisses and sex. 

The consent decree requires the man, who owns the IHOP at 2 N. State Rd. 7 through his Swami Pancake company, to do three hours of one-on-one anti-sexual harassment/sex discrimination management training annually for three years. The man’s wife and assistant manager also have to go through the same training.

According to the EEOC suit, the employee worked at the man’s IHOP restaurant from October 2009 through October 2017. Throughout her time there, she claimed, she and other women there suffered from the man’s incessant, unwanted mating attention.

The man is accused of sitting in the restaurant parking lot and waiting for the woman to finish her shift in order to make sexual advances to her, invite her to dinner, or for sex, while she was isolated from other employees and customers, according to the suit. He is also accused of parking his car to block the woman’s car so that she could not drive her car. The suit claims he would yell, ‘Why won’t you kiss me?’ and threatened, ‘I won’t let you go home until you kiss me.’

It is illegal for a supervisor or co-worker to make unwanted sexual advances towards another person in the workplace. It is also illegal for a supervisor or co-worker to subject another person to hostile work environment based on sex.

Sexual harassment is usually thought of as unwelcome sexual advances. And while that is part of it, there is so much more that falls under the umbrella of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can be comments of a sexual nature, sexual innuendos, lewd or sexist remarks, sexual jokes, questions or comments about intimate relationships, inappropriate comments about physical appearance, and viewing, showing or discussing pornography.

Some other examples of sexual harassment include:

  • Sexual assault or unwelcome physical touching that is sexual in nature
  • Proposing employment advances or hiring for sexual acts (“quid pro quo”)
  • Visual harassment by displaying sexually explicit objects, cartoons or pictures
  • Verbal abuse by sexually offensive comments and degrading words
  • Making sexual advances or propositions, physically or verbally
  • Making gender-related comments about a person’s appearance or mannerisms
  • Bullying someone using gender-related comments or conduct
  • Treating a person badly because they do not conform to gender roles
  • Emails with sexual innuendos
  • Supervisor or co-worker watching porn in the workplace
  • Supervisor or co-worker asking questions about your personal life or touching you inappropriately

In cases of sexual harassment, it is very important to keep detailed records of each offensive incident. Our Florida Sexual Harassment Attorneys at Whittel & Melton recommend making notes of the time, date and underlying facts of each incident, including any actions you or your company took, as well as copies of all related correspondence or complaints.

Florida laws require an employer to provide a workplace environment free from harassment. Likewise, once employers are notified about any harassment, they are obligated to rectify it. If your company fails to resolve the issue, your next step is to enlist the help of an attorney who can walk you through the process of filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

The law forbids retaliation against employees who report sexual harassment and/or object to or refuse unwanted advances. Retaliation may occur through wrongful termination, unjustified discipline, refusal to promote, demotion, reduction in hours or work, denial of a bonus or raise, transfer to a less desirable shift, or exposure to other less favorable conditions of employment. 

Our Florida Sexual Harassment Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to support you if you have been the victim of sexual harassment at work. We negotiate mediate, and litigate claims of sexual harassment and retaliation for employeers complaining of or objecting to sexual harassment. If you believe you are being sexually harassed at work, we urge you to discuss your concerns with us in confidence through a completely free consultation. Taking this first step can provide you with the knowledge you need as it pertains to sexual harassment laws and what can be done to protecting your rights as an employee. We are here to educate you about your rights and offer you sound legal guidance. 

Do not just ignore sexual harassment hoping it will stop on its own. Let us help you take action against the responsible party.

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