LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville-based regional chicken chain has been ordered to pay $340,000 to 15 former female employees to settle a lawsuit over alleged sexual harassment.
According to a news release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Indi's Fast Food Restaurants Inc. was sued by the commission after the former employees, some of whom were teenagers at the time, claimed to have experienced long-standing sexual harassment, including, "requests for sexual favors, sexually offensive comments and unwanted sexual touching."
The alleged harassment took place at the chain's Broadway, Cane Run Road, Fern Valley Road and Poplar Level Road locations in Louisville, according to the news release.
As a result of the settlement, Indi's must, "provide letters of apology to the women, implement new policies, conduct extensive training for employees and management, post an anti-discrimination notice at all workplaces, and report compliance to the EEOC for a five-year period," the news release states.
"No one should have to endure sexual harassment just to pay their rent and feed their families," said Aimee L. McFerren, senior trial attorney with the commission, in a statement. "Protecting vulnerable workers, including low-wage earners and teenagers, is a top priority for the EEOC. We hope this case sends a clear message that the EEOC will hold accountable employers who fail to protect their employees from workplace harassment."
On Monday afternoon, Dennis Clare, an attorney representing Indi's, issued an apology on behalf of the restaurant chain.
"Indi's Fast Food Restaurant and its owners, Murchison and Davy Thomas, sincerely apologize to any of its employees who were subjected to any form of sexual harassment by any of its managers or employees," Clare said, in the statement. "Although Indi's has been in business since 1981, these are the first complaints by any employees regarding any type of sexual harassment. Indi's believes that it took immediate and proper action to curtail this unacceptable behavior by immediately terminating the offensive manager and reaching an amicable settlement with the claimants."
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