EEOC Files Suit Against Cracker Barrel in East Tennessee

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KNOXVILLE (WVLT) The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a federal lawsuit against Cracker Barrel.

According to the complaint filed on September 28th in U.S. District Court, the EEOC, the allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation occur ed at the Cracker Barrel at 9214 Park West Boulevard in West Knoxville.

In the lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that Cracker Barrel on Park West has engaged in unlawful employment practices since July 15th, 2004.

The EEOC alleges the Cracker Barrel on Park West subjected at least seven female employees to sexual harassment.

According to the complaint, the general manager, a manager, and several men who worked at the Cracker Barrel location subjected the seven women to sexual harassment including unwelcome sexual touching, comments, and other conduct.

The lawsuit states one of the women complained to the general manager and the company's 1-800 complaint number about the alleged harassment, but nothing was done.

Furthermore, the EEOC says the woman who complained says she was retaliated against by being moved to areas of the restaurant where she made less in tips.

The lawsuit says the woman says nothing was done when she complained to a district manager.

The lawsuit asks to for injunction against Cracker Barrel and it's managers, preventing them from engaging in any other alleged harassment.

The lawsuit also requests back pay for several of the women who were allegedly harassed.

The EEOC is asking for a jury trial.

"It is important for workers to be able to perform their jobs without
being subjected to sexual harassment," said Katharine Kores, director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and 17 counties in Mississippi.

"When a company receives complaints about
sexual harassment, it has a responsibility to act quickly to end it, and to
assure that the complaining employees are protected from harassment."

Cracker Barrel Spokesperson Julie Davis says, "Cracker Barrel is actively engaged in analysis of a response to the suit. We consider these issues to be very serious and the company takes seriously it's responsibility regarding the safety and security of our employees."

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