Burger King workers finally settle 14-year sexual harassment case

Workers have the right to certain expectations in the workplace, including being able to work in an environment that is safe and free of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, sexual harassment still occurs, and even when employees do report incidents, employers may try to deny the allegations or ignore workers’ complaints.

When an employee feels he or she is being sexually harassed on the job, it may be time to consider hiring a competent attorney in order to make sure the harassment stops. In some cases, taking legal action will force employers to finally acknowledge their wrongdoings. If employers still deny allegations of wrongdoings, employees may simply have to accept monetary compensation and hope that their employers have learned their lesson.

One case involving the largest franchisee of Burger King restaurants was recently settled after dragging on for 14 years before the defendant finally agreed to settle. But even after reaching a settlement in the case last week, the franchisee still did not admit to harming workers.

A $2.5 million settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was reached last week. The lawsuit had initially been filed by one employee in 1998. An investigation conducted by the EEOC led to a lawsuit that was filed on behalf of 90,000 current and former employees of the company.

The EEOC eventually identified 511 employees who had been sexually harassed while working for the franchisee. Over time, the case was whittled down to only 88 former employees and one current employee, all of whom will now receive money from the settlement.

In addition to the payout, the franchisee, which operates 572 Burger King restaurants worldwide, has been ordered to update its anti-harassment policies, procedures and training programs in order to better prevent and address issues of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Source: Thomson Reuters News & Insight, “Burger King franchisee settles 14-year sexual harassment case,” Brendan O’Brien, Jan. 9, 2013

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