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  • IHOP Owner Forced to Pay $65K in Harassment Case

    Sexual harassment occurs in many workplaces throughout the United States.  Unfortunately, offensive, demeaning or abusive behavior is sometimes directed toward the most vulnerable members of a workforce, including the young.  Young women often feel the brunt of sexual harassment in situations where they feel powerless and unwilling to risk the loss of their job or even retaliation for complaining.

    Even those few employees who do come forward are often forced to wait many months, even years, to receive justice.  Sexual harassment lawsuits are usually long and stressful legal processes, and a victim of such discriminatory behavior must either have the financial resources to see the process through, or be able to withstand an adverse outcome when all is said and done.  Even settlement discussions frequently do not occur until the prospects of an actual sexual harassment trial, and an uncertain outcome, compel the alleged harasser to negotiate a resolution.

    A restaurateur who owns multiple International House of Pancake (IHOP) restaurants throughout the Midwest has recently settled a six-year-old federal sexual harassment case that was filed against him and a restaurant management consulting firm in Racine, Wisconsin.

    Saluddin Janmohammed owns and operates eighteen IHOPs throughout Wisconsin and other states in the Midwest.  His wife runs a restaurant management consulting company called Flipmeastack, which provided services to restaurants owned by Janmohammed, including the Racine IHOP.

    In 2006, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. government’s workplace and harassment watchdog agency, filed a lawsuit against Janmohammed, Flipmeastack Inc., and Management Hospitality of Racine Inc. after receiving reports of verbal and physical sexual harassment from two former employees of the IHOP in Racine, Wisconsin, a city located about 30 miles south of Milwaukee along the shores of Lake Michigan.  Both employees were teenagers at the time of the alleged harassment at the hands of an assistant manager.  Management Hospitality of Racine Inc. was operating the Racine store at that time.

    The lawsuit was tried before a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, which returned a verdict of over one hundred thousand dollars for the two former employees.

    Management Hospitality, Flipmeastack and Janmohammed appealed the verdict on the issue of whether Flipmeastack could properly be held liable for the services it provided the Racine IHOP location.  The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case to the District Court, instructing it to determine whether the Court could exercise jurisdiction over Flipmeastack.

    Ultimately, the case was settled between the parties, without the need for the Court to resolve the issue.  However, Flipmeastack has been ordered to provide sexual harassment training to employees of all restaurants it consults with, and to prevent sexual harassment in those stores.

    If you have experienced discriminatory or offensive conduct at work, contact a sexual harassment lawyer in California right away.  Discrimination based on age, sex, ethnicity, disability or certain other traits or characteristics can be the basis of a lawsuit.  Your sexual harassment lawyer in California with experience in the state’s sexual harassment and anti-discrimination laws can study the facts of your case and recommend a course of action designed to help you obtain a fair outcome.  A sexual harassment lawyer in California can help you decide whether you should take your case to trial, negotiate a reasonable settlement, or if the facts of your case justify legal action.  However your sexual harassment case is resolved, having an experienced sexual harassment lawyer from California on your side can help ensure you receive an equitable outcome.