The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed a lawsuit against Bojangles’ Restaurants Inc. in North Carolina after one of its fast-food chains violated a federal law. According to the EEOC, one of the locations was accused of subjecting “a transgender employee to a hostile work environment because of gender identity and then illegally fired the employee in retaliation for reporting the sexual harassment.” According to the lawsuit, Jonathan (De’Ashia) Wolfe, who identifies and presents herself as a woman, “was repeatedly subjected to offensive comments about her gender identity and appearance.”

The managers and assistant managers working around Wolfe even demanded that she “behave and groom in ways that are stereotypically male” seeing that Wolfe was born male. Wolfe took the initiative to file at least two complaints but the harassment continued and none of her concerns were taken seriously. Instead, she was fired shortly after filing her last complaint and the EEOC determined that the company acted in retaliation.

After the EEOC was informed of the incident, the lawsuit was filed as it was determined that the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964. The act was established “to protect employees from sex discrimination, including harassment based on gender identity and sexual orientation.” The act also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who files a complaint against them. The EEOC determined Bojangles’ violated both areas of this act which resulted in the company having to pay $15,000 to Wolfe.

That was only a portion of the settlement agreement.

The company is also required to “enter into a two-year consent decree which requires it to provide annual live-presenter training to all specified area directors, unit directors, assistant unit directors, and shift managers on Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex and retaliation.” The company also has to redistribute its anti-harassment/discrimination and retaliation policies to all employees at the restaurants specified in the settlement. In the event the company or a specific restaurant receives any complaints going forward, they are required report them to the EEOC.

Sexual Harassment and Sex Discrimination are Illegal in the Workplace

No matter what your sexual preference is or how you identify, your employer never has the right to treat you differently or subject you to work in an unsafe or hostile work environment. The fact is, sexual harassment comes in many forms. Both physical and verbal acts can be considered forms of harassment. And if you feel you have been subjected this unwanted behavior that the EEOC considers to be sexual harassment, please contact USAttorneys.com today.

You have rights and the Raleigh, North Carolina sexual harassment attorneys they can place you in touch with will be sure to explain what those are. Knowing this can help you make an informed decision on how you want to handle it.