February 09, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Burger King franchisee settles sexual harassment suit for $2.5 million
Article provided by Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP
Visit us at http://www.bestsexualharassmentlawyers.com/
The nation's largest Burger King franchisee has agreed to a $2.5 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over widespread allegations of sexual harassment, Reuters reported recently.
Beginning in 1998, the sexual harassment litigation against Burger King franchisee Carrols Restaurant Group Inc. was one of the longest-running cases in EEOC history. In a statement issued January 8, 2013, Carrols said it would pay settlement money to the 89 remaining parties in the case, including 88 former employees and one current employee.
Along with the financial settlement, Carrols also agreed to strengthen the sexual harassment policies and training programs at its restaurants. The franchisee operates 572 Burger King locations worldwide.
Employer liability for sexual harassment
When an employee experiences sexual harassment in the workplace, the employer is often held legally responsible for the harassment along with the individual who perpetrated the harassment. This is because employers are generally viewed as being responsible for directing the behavior of their employees in the workplace.
The issue of employer liability for sexual harassment becomes more complicated, however, in cases involving franchise operations like Burger King. A franchise is a type of business in which the owner of a company grants an independent entrepreneur the right to use the company's name, trademark and business methods to operate a chain restaurant or other establishment.
Because of the varying levels of support and involvement in the franchise establishment by the larger company, it can be difficult to establish which entity is responsible for sexual harassment and other employee misconduct that occurs within a franchise setting.
California Supreme Court expanded franchisor liability
The California Supreme Court recently addressed the issue of franchisor liability for sexual harassment in Patterson v. Domino's Pizza. That case involved a 16-year-old female employee of a Domino's franchise restaurant who claimed she had been sexually harassed and assaulted at work by an assistant manager.
The court ruled that a franchisor -- in this case, Domino's -- can be liable for employee misconduct if it exerts substantial control over the franchisee's local operation, employee discipline or management-employee relations.
Thus, in a California franchise setting, the liability of the franchisor may depend on factors such as whether the franchise agreement allows the company to exert control in areas like:
-Hiring and firing decisions
-Standards for employee appearance and demeanor
-Store hours, pricing, advertising or record-keeping
California employees who experience sexual harassment are encouraged to seek help from an attorney with experience representing victims of workplace sexual harassment. A knowledgeable sexual harassment lawyer will help employees understand their rights and will work hard to make sure that the responsible parties are held accountable for their actions.---
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