Carrabba’s Italian Grill, part of OS Restaurants Services, operates primarily in the food industry with restaurants located throughout the country. The restaurant giant recently made headlines after loosing a massive sexual harassment case — showing that sexual harassment remains a serious problem.
The case involves a manager who made unwelcomed comments to female workers and subjected them to other forms of sexual harassment. It serves as an opportunity to review the basics of these cases and the impact of a win, not just on the victim but also the broader impact on the workplace as a whole.
How do these cases work?
The first step is often to determine if sexual harassment is present. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes sexual discrimination, including sexual harassment, illegal within the workplace. The victim will likely need to gather evidence to show that there was harassment. This can include documentation of incidents of harassment to provide as evidence for the court. If able to gather this or other evidence, the case may move forward.
If the case moves forward, the parties will generally try to reach a settlement. If this does not work, they may move forward to litigation, or a courtroom battle. This case moved forward to litigation.
What was the holding in this case?
As noted above the court ruled against the restaurant and ordered it pay $690,000 in monetary damages. These funds go to the female employee victims.
Although the funds are an important part of the ruling, additional measures ordered by the court will also help to better ensure these mistakes do not happen in the future. These measures include:
- New policies. The restaurant owner must also implement new sexual harassment policies to help reduce the risk of future harassment within their restaurants.
- Clear investigation procedures. The court also required the restaurant implement clear investigation measures in the future, as part of the issue with this case was the fact that the owners were allegedly aware of the issue in 2016 yet failed to respond.
- Education efforts. The restaurants are also ordered to implement new training measures to make sure management is aware of the restaurant’s sexual harassment policies.
These types of awards, the monetary as well as additional requirements, are not uncommon and serve to help better ensure the ruling not only helps the individual victims but also reduces the risk of similar issues within the workplace in the future.