Sparks, an New York City steak house, agreed to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The EEOC filed the suit on behalf of approximately 22 male employees, who alleged that, over an eight year period, a male manager gropped their backsides, made inappropriate and outrageous sexual comments and tried to touch their genitals. The complaint also alleges that when the employees complained about the sexual harassment, they were either ignored, given more difficult work assignments or suspended.
Robert D. Rose, an EEOC attorney, commented on the lawsuit, stating, "The severe sexual harassment at Sparks ran rampant for too long. Employers must recognize and act on their duty to prevent sexual harassment of any kind."
Sparks agreed to pay $600,000 to settle the sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit and also promised to conduct anti-discrimination training for its staff, establish a complaint hotline so that employees can report incidents of discrimination and amends its policy prohibiting sexual harassment and retaliation.
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