On September 11, 2013, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that it had filed suit against Memphis Foods, LLC (“Memphis Foods”), the owner of a Memphis KFC restaurant, for sexually harassing and retaliating against a 16-year-old female employee. The lawsuit alleges that, about two months after the minor female began working at KFC, the plaintiff’s 54-year-old store manager began making unwelcome and offensive sexual comments and physical contact. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that Memphis Foods retaliated against the minor plaintiff by removing her from her work schedule and firing her within weeks after she reported the unlawful sexual harassment to other managerial employees. The full text of the announcement can be found here.
As most individuals know, sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but what I found particularly interesting from the EEOC’s recent announcement is the director of the EEOC’s Memphis Office’s statement that “[s]exual harassment and retaliation in the workplace are always unconscionable, especially when minors are targeted and victimized.” The director then went on to say that “[t]his agency considers the protection of minors in the workplace an important priority for eradicating employment discrimination.” And the announcement includes a notification that the EEOC has recently updated its website which presents information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination.
Sexual harassment of teens in the workplace is a particularly important issue, as many teens are uninformed regarding their rights and many are particularly unwilling to confront unlawful discriminatory activity, as more often than not they are working their first jobs. Moreover, many youth workers are preconditioned to be weary of challenging authority figures, and they have not matured to a mindset of perceiving themselves as equals to the older individuals who often times manage their employment. This problem is not new, and in fact was the subject of a 2010 NBC new article which describes the problems as an “epidemic in many workplaces.”
If you feel that you are being sexually harassed or are working in a sexually charged or hostile working environment, you should not wait to call the right attorney at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At The Spitz Law Firm, you will meet with a sexual harassment lawyer/hostile work environment attorney to find out what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them. Sexual harrassment is a form of gender discrimination, and employers should be held accountable if they discriminate against workers in any fashion – but particularly for the sexual harassment of minors.
The materials available at this gender discrimination and employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. It is best contact an Ohio sexual harassment attorney/hostile work environment lawyer to obtain advice with respect to sexual harassment/hostile work environment questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.