Owner of Snappers Sports Bar and Grill Created Sexually Charged Environment, Forcing Employees to Quit, Federal Agency Charged
HONOLULU, Hawaii - A federal court has ordered the owners of a Waikiki Beach sports bar and grill to pay $255,302 to resolve a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The EEOC's suit was against Pacific Fun Enterprises LLC, doing business as Snappers Sports Bar and Grill and Snap-ette Beach and Liquor Store in Honolulu.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the company's owner, managers and patrons subjected female employees to repeated sexual harassment. Such harassment included making lewd comments about employees' breasts and buttocks, requesting that employees wear cut shirts and shorts to reveal more skin, inappropriately touching female employees and calling them by derogatory names. Multiple employees complained about the harassment, but the company failed to take corrective action. In some instances, the owner retaliated against employees by reducing their work shifts, terminating them, and creating such a hostile work environment that the employees felt they had no choice but to quit.
Such alleged conduct violates the provisions against sex discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (EEOC v. Pacific Fun Enterprises LLC et al, Case No: 1:17-cv-00482) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The court maintains jurisdiction over this case.
Pacific Fun Enterprises LLC failed to answer the EEOC's lawsuit. As a result, the court found Pacific Fun Enterprises LLC liable for discriminatory conduct and awarded monetary relief totaling $255,302, including back pay with prejudgment interest, compensatory and punitive damages. The company also filed for bankruptcy in November 2017 and the EEOC is working to obtain relief through the bankruptcy proceedings.
"Such egregious harassment has a lasting impact on the victims, and the EEOC is pleased with the court's ruling which emphasizes the seriousness of the offenses," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, which includes Hawaii in its jurisdiction. "Employers should take note of this decision and understand their liability for the work environment they condone."
Glory Gervacio Saure, director of the EEOC's Honolulu Local Office, added, "This ruling sends a clear message to employers in the tourism industry and beyond that the EEOC and the courts will not tolerate sex discrimination in the workplace, especially where owners and management are involved."
Preventing harassment through systemic investigations and litigation is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.