Red Robin to pay $600K for harassment at Everett location

A consent decree approved Friday settles sexual harassment and retaliation claims by four victims against the restaurant chain.

Everett

EVERETT – Restaurant chain Red Robin agreed Friday to pay four former Everett restaurant workers $600,000 to resolve a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A line cook, 45, at Red Robin’s restaurant at 1305 SE Everett Mall Way was allowed to sexually harass female workers on a daily basis with offensive sexual comments and unwanted remarks about their bodies, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle in September 2022. The man reportedly also leered and touched them without their consent.

When the female workers objected to his conduct, he allegedly retaliated against them by calling them sexist slurs and refusing to give them their food orders, interfering with their ability to do their jobs.

One of the four victims was an 18-year-old line cook who had just graduated from high school, court documents said.

Despite multiple complaints to management, the company failed to take “prompt or effective action” to stop the harassment, forcing one female server to quit, the lawsuit said.

“When one female employee complained about the sexual harassment, Red Robin’s general manager told her that the harasser just got out of jail and that is just the type of person he is,” May Che, a senior trial attorney with the commission said in a statement.

“Not only is this an offensive assertion regarding ex-offenders, but failing to take action violates the law,” Che added. “No one gets a free pass to sexually harass.”

Under a three-year court-approved consent decree settling the suit, Red Robin will pay $600,000 to the four former employees.

In addition, Red Robin must also hire experts in employment discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation to review its policies and assist with employee training and investigations at 12 Washington locations. Red Robin operates Snohomish County restaurants in Everett, Marysville, Lynnwood, Bothell and Monroe.

The company must also adopt policies holding its managers and supervisors accountable for compliance with federal policies and procedures.

“Not only should employers strive to prevent harassment and discrimination, they must also protect workers who are brave enough to speak out against it when it occurs,” said Elizabeth Cannon, the director of the commission’s Seattle Field Office.

“This resolution sends a clear message that sexual harassment is unacceptable and must be met with prompt remedial action. We will continue to relentlessly pursue justice for victims of workplace sexual harassment and retaliation,” Cannon added.

Founded in Seattle in 1969, Red Robin is now a publicly-traded company based in Greenwood Village, Colorado. It employs over 21,000 workers at more than 400 U.S. locations.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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