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Applebee’s to pay tens of thousands after sisters say they were harassed in NMB

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File photo - TNS

After two sisters were subjected to a “sexually hostile work environment” at a North Myrtle Beach Applebee’s, the company now has to pay $75,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Tuesday that New Apple Inc., a corporation that owns and operates several Applebee’s throughout the southeast, will pay the money and provide other relief to settle the lawsuit.

“The EEOC charged that New Apple violated federal law when it subjected two female employees, who are sisters, to a sexually hostile work environment,” the federal agency says in the announcement.

In September 2013, a woman began working as a server at Applebee’s, formerly located at 1571 Highway 17 North in North Myrtle Beach. From January 2014 until October of that year, one of the assistant managers sexually harassed her, according to the EEOC.

The woman’s sister began working at the same Applebee’s in June 2014. During her time there, the EEOC says the same manager sexually harrassed her as well, which included “physical groping and sexual comments.”

“Although much of the offensive conduct was witnessed by members of management and although the Frye sisters reported the harassment to multiple managers on several occasions, the company failed to promptly stop the harassment,” the EEOC’s lawsuit claims.

In addition to paying the sisters $75,000, New Apple has entered into a two-year consent decree that requires the corporation to do the following:

  • Develop an auditing process to assist the corporation with identifying and addressing actual or potential sexual harassment

  • Provide workplace civility and sexual harassment training to all area directors, general managers, assistant general managers, and assistant managers

  • Report to the EEOC all complaints of sex-based conduct or comments made by employees

“This case – where a manager allegedly openly and brazenly harassed multiple female employees and the conduct went ignored by other managers – reinforces the crucial need for employers to take appropriate action to stop unwelcome sexual comments and misconduct in the workplace,” said Kara G. Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, in the announcement. “The EEOC takes a company’s disregard for the federally protected rights of its employees very seriously and will prosecute cases where such disregard occurs.”

Michaela Broyles: 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles