North Carolina Bojangles' restaurant settles sex harassment case, pays $15,000 penalty

By Mark Iandolo | Dec 27, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Dec. 20 that Bojangles’ Restaurants Inc., a fast food chain corporation with headquarters in North Carolina, has agreed to pay $15,000 penalty after allegations of sex harassment and discrimination.

According to EEOC allegations, Jonathan (De’Ashia) Wolfe is a transgender woman who worked at a Bojangles’ in Fayetteville, North.Carolina. and was repeatedly subjected to offensive comments about her gender identity and appearance. Wolfe identifies and presents as a woman, yet her managers allegedly demanded that she behave in stereotypical male ways. Wolfe reported the comments multiple times, yet the harassment purportedly continued. Bojangles’ eventually fired her as retaliation, EEOC said.

Bojangles’ alleged conduct in this case violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. To settle the allegations, Bojangles’ will pay the $15,000 penalty, which will go to Wolfe as restitution, and make changes to its business practices. The company will institute annual live-presenter training to various managers; the presentations will focus on Title VII. The company will also redistribute its anti-harassment and discrimination policies to employees.

"All employees have the right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment and gender stereotypes," said Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC's Charlotte District. "Federal law provides transgender employees protection from sex discrimination in the workplace."

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