As we have previously discussed, teenagers in Texas may be at a higher risk of experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace than adults. There are a number of reasons that teens may be likely to be harassed, including the fact that they are often in low-level positions and unaware of their employment rights.
One teenage girl who worked at a KFC in Memphis, however, was aware of her rights. After fielding offensive comments and unwanted contact from her 54-year-old manager, the 16-year-old reported the sexual harassment to other managerial workers, according to a lawsuit that has now been filed.
Instead of responding to the complaint appropriately and putting a stop to the harassment, however, the teenager continued to be subjected to employment law violations. The company removed the young woman from the schedule and then fired her in retaliation for filing the complaint, according to the lawsuit.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed the lawsuit on behalf of the former KFC worker, accusing the owner of the restaurant of subjecting the worker to both sexual harassment and retaliation. The company that owns the restaurant owns more than 60 restaurants in five states.
The EEOC is seeking back wages and compensatory and punitive damages for the victim.
It is good to see that this young woman was aware of her rights and that she stood up for them. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from sexual harassment as well as retaliation, and employers who violate this law can be held accountable.
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Federal Agency Charges KFC Store Manager Discriminated Against Minor," Sept. 12, 2013