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Updates on Sexual Harassment
Updates on Sexual Harassment - Archives
Webb Report Newsletter - Archives

THIRD QUARTER 2004 - Please check back for future updates.

This section contains brief updates of recent sexual harassment complaints, suits, settlements, awards, surveys and studies. The information is gathered from many places and is intended to give an overview of the most current events. It is not meant to provide an exhaustive list of all the news.

Summer 2004
  • EEOC Sues Cracker Barrel For Sex Bias and Discrimination

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a sexual and racial harassment class lawsuit in federal court here against Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., CBRL Group, Inc., and CBOCS West, Inc. (collectively, "Cracker Barrel").

    The EEOC's lawsuit is based upon charges of discrimination filed by 10 workers in three Cracker Barrel restaurants in Matteson, Mattoon, and Bloomington, Illinois, and alleges that the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by subjecting female employees in those locations to sexual harassment and retaliation. The federal agency also alleges that African American employees were harassed and subject to different terms and conditions of employment because of their race.

    The EEOC said that its administrative investigation which preceded the lawsuit revealed that the harassment of women at the Cracker Barrel facilities included circulation of pornographic photographs and cartoons, obscene jokes, sexual propositions, groping, and sexual assaults. Managers not only refused to investigate or act upon complaints of harassment, according to EEOC's investigation, they became personally involved in it grabbing female employees, propositioning them, and laughing at their complaints. Calls to Cracker Barrel's "1-800 hotline," established to receive complaints, went unanswered.

    John Rowe, Director of the EEOC Chicago District Office, said: "What we know already that we have charges of discrimination from 10 separate people, that three separate restaurants in three separate cities are involved, and that management seems to have been unresponsive in every case suggests to us that we are looking at a widespread and serious problem. Cracker Barrel is not a small employer and this is not going to be a little case. But this office has deep experience in dealing with major employment discrimination cases and we look forward to a positive result in this one."

    According to Cracker Barrel's Internet web site, the company which started out in 1969 in Lebanon, Tennessee currently has over 500 stores in 41 states and plans to open new ones at a rate of 20 stores per year. It employs more than 45,000 workers. For fiscal year 2003, Cracker Barrel reported revenues of $2.2 billion and net income of $106.5 million, with average annual sales of over $3 million per restaurant. Cracker Barrel also operates more than 100 Logan's Roadhouse restaurants in 17 states.

  • Morgan Stanley to Pay $54 Million In Sex Bias Suit

    New York-based Morgan Stanley & Co. has agreed to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by EEOC that requires the Wall Street investment brokerage firm to pay $54 million and to submit to a compliance plan supervised by an outside monitor.

    EEOC filed the suit in September 2001, charging the company with engaging a a widespread pattern of discrimination against women in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This action was "part of a trend of growing legal and regulatory attention to the issue of discrimination in the financial services industry," according to the Bureau of National Affairs. EEOC v. Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc., S.D.N.Y., No. 01-8421, consent decree approved 7/12/04.

  • Court Says Official Act Must Prompt Decision to Quit

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an 8-1 decision that a Pennsylvania State Police communications officer who said she was forced off the job by the sexually harassing hostile work environment created by three supervisors can sue her employer for constructive discharge under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    The justices decided however that unless the woman can show the resignation was prompted by an official adverse job action, the employer can avoid vicarious liability for the supervisors' acts by showing that it had in place a complaint system that the woman unreasonably failed to use before quitting. Pennsylvania State Police v. Suders, U.S., No. 03-95, 6/14/04.

Updates on Sexual Harassment - Archives

Webb Report Newsletter - Archives

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