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Sexual Harassment Claims Against Hooters

Outcome: Confidential settlement

In an early legal battle for Tycko & Zavareei that highlighted issues of sexual harassment and racial discrimination within the workplace, seven waitresses at a Charleston, West Virginia Hooters restaurant filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the establishment. This case brought to light troubling allegations of a “corporate culture of abuse” perpetuated by male owners and managers at the restaurant.

Details of the Allegations:

Sexual Harassment: The plaintiffs alleged that male owners and managers engaged in inappropriate behavior, including groping and making unwelcome sexual propositions to female workers.

Racial Discrimination: The lawsuit also presented claims of racial discrimination, accusing the Charleston outlet of failing to promote Black individuals into management positions. It further alleges that a former owner terminated the employment of women who had biracial children and instructed managers not to hire women associated with Black men.

The plaintiffs demanded unspecified damages and called for judicial intervention to bar sexual harassment at the restaurant. They challenged the constitutionality of an arbitration agreement that prevented workers from filing complaints, deeming it unconstitutional and unenforceable. The lawsuit contended that the Hooters corporation has failed to effectively address and halt the harassment facilitated by the owners and managers of the Charleston outlet. The lawsuit was settled confidentially.

This case underscored a critical conversation about workplace ethics, the importance of creating a safe work environment, and the need for organizational accountability in addressing and preventing abuse and discrimination.

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