Five things to know about sexual harassment in the workplace
The general manager of a Zaxby’s in North Carolina allegedly invited a cashier to a hotel overnight — all expenses paid — if she wore fishnet stockings.
Now the franchise owner is taking heat, court documents show.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a Greensboro-based restaurant franchise after the cashier complained of a sexually hostile work environment in which the manager repeatedly asked her for sex and made inappropriate comments.
She was fired shortly thereafter, according to a suit filed in North Carolina federal court.
“A company’s ability to provide a work environment free of harassment is dependent on its employees being able to report this sort of abuse without hesitation,” Lynette Barnes, a regional attorney with the EEOC, said in a statement.
The complaint accuses BCD Restaurants LLC of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits workplace sexual harassment and retaliation.
Zaxby’s Franchising LLC told McClatchy news group in a statement Wednesday they are aware of the allegations.
“While we cannot comment on pending litigation, we do want to emphasize that Zaxby’s does not tolerate harassment of any kind,” Zaxby’s said.
A representative for BCD Restaurants could not be reached.
According to the complaint, Victoria Jones started working at a Greensboro Zaxby’s in November 2018. The general manager reportedly began harassing her soon after.
Jones said he made sexually inappropriate comments on a near daily basis, including asking to “perform various sexual acts” and “commenting about how Jones’s genitalia might taste.”
In December 2018, she said he invited her to spend the night with him in a hotel to have sex.
“The General Manager told Jones he would pay for everything, and that all she needed to do was wear fishnet stockings,” the complaint states. “Jones declined the General Manager’s invitation.”
He also allegedly tried to grab her butt the following month, but she “slapped the General Manager’s hand away from her person,” according to the suit.
Jones complained about the harassment to a co-owner of BCD Restaurants on Jan. 23, the complaint states. A few days later, the manager allegedly informed her she had been fired.
Her last day of work was Jan. 25, according to the suit.
“The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the young woman, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future harassment and retaliation in the workplace,” the commission said in a statement.