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Sexual Harassment Settlement Reached by IHOP Franchise

Sexual Harassment Settlement Reached by IHOP Franchise


The franchise owner of several IHOP restaurants has agreed to pay a $1 million settlement in a sexual discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit, brought by a class of 22 women, alleged that they had been sexually harassed at one of the franchisee’s restaurants. Here’s what you need to know about the case.


The lawsuit alleged that a female manager at one of the IHOP restaurants owned by the franchisee had sexually harassed multiple female employees. The harassment reportedly included lewd comments, unwanted touching, and requests for sexual favors. The alleged behavior continued despite complaints from the victims.

The Settlement

The franchise owner agreed to a $1 million settlement in the lawsuit, which will be split among the 22 plaintiffs. As part of the settlement, the franchise owner also agreed to implement new policies and procedures to prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace.


The settlement has been hailed as a victory for the victims of sexual harassment and a reminder that such behavior will not be tolerated in the workplace. However, some activists and experts argue that $1 million is not a sufficient deterrent against sexual harassment and that more needs to be done to hold individuals and companies accountable for such behavior.

Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The settlement underscores the importance of preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Companies can take steps to prevent such behavior by establishing policies and procedures that promote a safe and respectful work environment. Training employees on sexual harassment prevention and response can also be effective in reducing the incidence of such behavior.


The settlement in the sexual discrimination lawsuit against the IHOP franchise owner provides a measure of justice for the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. It is important that companies take proactive steps to prevent such behavior and ensure that employees are aware of their rights and that such behavior will not be tolerated. Only then can we create a workplace that is safe and respectful for all.

The franchise owner of several IHOP restaurants located throughout New Mexico has agreed to settle a sexual discrimination lawsuit for the sum of $1 million.  The lawsuit alleged that a class of 22 women had been sexually harassed by a manager at one of the IHOP restaurants owned by the franchisee.

The group of women harassed by the manager, Lee Broadnax, ranged in age from women in their teens to those in their twenties.  The youngest harassment victim was just sixteen years old at the time the conduct took place.

Broadnax engaged in several different types of harassment with multiple employees.  In addition to making frequent attempts to kiss female employees, he also touched women who worked for him on their hips and buttocks.  He also exhibited behavior that the women being harassed found disturbing, like staring at women employees and licking his lips.

Sexual harassment was pervasive in the IHOP restaurant where the lawsuit stemmed from, according to the EEOC.  Broadnax was also accused of making comments about women’s body parts and stated explicitly that he wanted to take clothes off of one of his employees.

The settlement represents a victory for the 22 women who had been victimized by the manager in the case.  Strangely, this is not the first time that IHOP franchise owners have faced similar sexual harassment allegations this year.  Earlier in the year, IHOP appealed a lower court ruling that held the company liable for harassment by a manager at another restaurant.

In that case, young girls had also been harassed by a manager, and the women involved had made complaints against their harasser.  The attorneys for IHOP in that case maintained that because all employees, including managers, had attended sexual harassment seminars put on by the company, they were not liable for harassment coming from just one employee.

While that argument may have sounded convincing to IHOP, it didn’t convince the judge, who found the restaurant liable for the harassment the employees had experienced.  The court held that it was not enough to simply have an employee harassment and discrimination policy, or to train people regarding the policy—in order for a company to escape liability,  it must be able to demonstrate that it has actually enforced the policy when a complaint is made.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been pursuing discrimination and harassment cases more aggressively in the last several years, following a slowdown during the Bush administration.  In addition to pursuing sexual harassment allegations, gender discrimination and cases involving pregnancy discrimination are also ramping up as the EEOC continues to promote its mission of ending workplace discrimination for Americans.

IHOP has also agreed to include additional training regarding discrimination and harassment as part of its future employment training, and will provide employees with notice of the settlement.

Sources: uscourts.gov, eeoc.gov