Carrols Corporation, the world's largest Burger King franchise has agreed to pay $2.5 million and take significant remedial action to resolve a sexual harassment and retaliation case brought by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to the lawsuit, Carrols subjected a class of women, including many teenagers, to sexual harassment at various Burger King locations throughout the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast. The sexual harassment took the form of rape, unwanted touching, exposure of genitalia, strip searches, obscene comments, jokes and propositions and was committed by managers in most of the cases. According to the case, Carrols also retaliated against some of the women by cutting their hours, manufacturing performance problems and even firing them, while forcing other women to quit because they could not take the harassment any longer.
Under the terms of the publicly filed consent decree settling the case, Carrols will pay $2.5 million in compensatory damages and lost wages to 89 sexual harassment and retaliation victims. Carrols is also required to implement a number of measures to increase the awareness of Carrols' employees about its anti-harassment policies and to improve Carrols' response to harassment complaints brought under its policies. Carrols' managers will be required to undergo enhanced training, among other things.