Professional Service Agreement

Sexual Harassment and Race Discrimination Suits Settled for $925K, Disability and Age Cases Filed

October 05, 2022

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) separately announced the settlement of sexual harassment and race and national origin discrimination allegations against employers in Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, and Arizona totaling $925,000. The EEOC also reported the filing of unrelated lawsuits charging disability and age discrimination against employers in New York and Florida.


Sexual harassment by male manager.Koerner Management Group, Inc., dba IHOP, has agreed to pay $125,000 to settle allegations that the restaurant operator violated Title VII when it failed to stop sexual harassment and abuse by a supervisor, according to the EEOC. At least two female teenage employees were subjected to pervasive sexual harassment by a male manager employed by the company, which operates IHOP restaurants in Maryland and Virginia. The misconduct allegedly included graphic sexual comments and questions about the employees’ sex lives, groping, displaying pornographic material, and conditioning employment actions on responses to the manager’s sexual propositions, the EEOC said. The employer was aware of the manager’s conduct but did not take appropriate steps to address it. The employees were forced to quit because of the harassment.

In addition to the monetary relief, the consent decree requires the employer to take affirmative steps to prevent and correct discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Such action includes implementation of enhanced companywide antidiscrimination and harassment policies and reporting procedures; engagement of a third-party employment law professional to investigate complaints and identify appropriate corrective actions; substantive training for managers; and employee education on rights and protections. The decree will remain in effect for four years and is subject to compliance monitoring.

Race, national origin discrimination by supervisor.Eagle Services will pay $100,000 to resolve allegations that the industrial and environmental cleaning company in Illinois and Indiana violated Title VII when it subjected Hispanic and Black employees to harassment. A supervisor repeatedly called minority laborers and service technicians racist names, made other offensive comments based on race and national origin, and texted a violent racist meme to an employee, the EEOC said. Despite complaints to upper-level management, the harassment continued over several years.

Years of sexual harassment.Lowe’s will pay $700,000 to settle allegations that the hardware chain violated Title VII when it allowed sexual harassment at its store in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The EEOC alleged that Lowe’s allowed sexual harassment to occur against three women at the location for several years.

In addition to the monetary relief, a three-year consent decree settling the suit requires the company to revise its antidiscrimination policies; promptly and thoroughly investigate complaints of sexual harassment; train all employees on sexual harassment; provide letters of reference to the three women; and provide reports on training, complaints of discrimination, and any revisions to policies and procedures to the EEOC.

New lawsuits

Discriminatory comments about disability and age.Maximum Security NYC, Inc., violated the ADA when the security company headquartered in Queens, New York, denied work assignments to and then fired a 57-year-old employee based on his disability and age, the EEOC contends in a new lawsuit. After the employee returned to work following a heart attack suffered on the job in December 2019, he was allegedly subjected to discriminatory comments by his supervisor. Those comments included statements that the employee should retire at his age and in his condition, that Maximum Security did not want him to have another heart attack on the job, and that he should retire already.

Although the employee initially continued to receive work as a fire life safety director, he was allegedly told to stop reporting to work in March 2020, purportedly due to lack of work during the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. At that time and afterwards, Maximum Security NYC, Inc., continued to assign work to younger fire life safety directors with no disabilities. In August 2020, the company purportedly asked the employee to resign, citing his age and to avoid the employee having another heart attack on the job. The employee refused and was fired.

Disability discrimination.TJM Properties, dba Princess Martha, LLC, a senior living residence in St. Petersburg, Florida, violated the ADA when it revoked an applicant’s job offer because of her disability, according to the EEOC. The applicant, a veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), received an offer of employment from Princess Martha conditioned on a negative drug test. During her interview, the applicant allegedly informed her interviewer that she was diagnosed with PTSD and was required to take legally prescribed medications that would cause her drug test to fail. The applicant subsequently took the drug test and received a “non-negative” result. A few days after taking the drug test, the applicant called Princess Martha to check on the status of her hire and again informed the employer her prescription medications would cause a drug test to fail. The next day, the applicant’s job offer was revoked without explanation.