Tapioca Express and two of its franchisees have settled a $102,500 lawsuit involving the alleged sexual harassment of several of their female Filipino employees that was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on its press release
, the owner of the two Tapioca Express franchisees in Chula Vista and National City, California, whose name was not included in the report, allegedly harassed its young Filipino female employees between ages of 17 and 23 by making unwanted sexual advances.
It says in the report that the owner harassed the female employees by repeatedly making unwanted comments of a sexual nature as well as physical contact that drove some employees to quit. It was also added that the EEOC charged that all “three defendant companies failed to prevent and correct the harassing behavior even after a written complaint was submitted.”
It was not detailed in the press release how many employees have been harassed by the owner, but such alleged conduct is reportedly prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“We commend the young women for coming forward to shine a light on the harassment to which they were subjected,” director of the EEOC’s San Diego Local Office Christopher Green said. “Their strength may give courage to other young people or those in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community who may be suffering harassment or discrimination in the workplace to come forward as well.”
The Asian tea and snack restaurant chain has also agreed to retain an “external monitor” and to provide “provide anti-sexual harassment training to all employees.”
“Harassment remains a persistent problem in the workplace, which must be addressed top-down in any company,” Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, said in the statement. “We are encouraged by the steps Tapioca Express has taken to resolve this matter and the measures it has put in place to prevent workplace harassment and discrimination.”