The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Bojangles Restaurants on Sept. 7, alleging it transferred an employee in retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment.
A general manager for a Greensboro, North Carolina, location allegedly harassed a team member for several months, making sexual remarks and touching her inappropriately. After the employee complained, an area director informed her that she would be transferred. The employee also alleged the employer revoked an offer to participate in a management training program.
Such actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, EEOC said in announcing its lawsuit against the fast food chain. The complaint seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the employee.
EEOC in its announcement told employers that implementation of effective reporting procedures for sexual harassment is necessary for Title VII compliance, adding that “retaliation against employees who report sexual harassment cannot be tolerated.”
Bojangles has seen several federal enforcement actions in recent years. In 2017, it paid $15,000 to settle an EEOC lawsuit alleging it subjected a transgender employee to harassment based on her gender identity and then fired her in retaliation for complaining. More recently, the employer has found itself in the U.S. Department of Labor’s sights. DOL said on June 29 that investigators found child labor violations at the chain; the agency assessed a civil penalty and the company agreed to make “sweeping changes,” according to DOL.
Bojangles told HR Dive it will review the EEOC’s claims carefully and that it is "committed to preventing and eliminating misconduct, including all forms of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.”