MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Legal Newsline) — In a settlement agreement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Mint Julep Restaurant Operations LLC will pay $450,000 to 15 individuals and furnish other relief due to allegations of sexual harassment.
Mint Julep Restaurant Operations is an independent restaurant company and franchisee of the casual dining chain Cheddar’s Casual Café. EEOC charged the defendant with maintaining a hostile work environment at its Winchester Road restaurant in Memphis. Allegations include permitting sexual conversations and jokes and allowing a general manager and bar manager to subject numerous female employees to sexual harassment.
"Having and disseminating an anti-harassment policy does not satisfy federal prohibitions against sexual harassment," said regional attorney Faye Williams of EEOC's Memphis District Office. "Employers must also enforce it. When an employer allows its managers to abuse its female employees in these ways and allows a sexually hostile work environment to persist, it is, obviously, not enforcing its anti-harassment policy. An unenforced policy is tantamount to having no policy at all."
In addition to monetary relief, the consent decree that settles the suit requires Mint Julep Restaurant Operations to conduct mandatory anti-harassment training, maintenance of workplace cameras and monitoring of workplace behavior. The defendant must additionally give notice of the settlement to the employees of its Memphis restaurant and report complaints of harassment directly to EEOC for three years.