Posted On: May 7, 2010 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Bon Appetit to pay $22,500 in Settlement of Charge of Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

A cashier and part-time cook at Bon Appetit alleged she was sexually harassed by her general manager Leslie Simmonds. She alleged the sexual harassment included being asked for sex, inappropriate comments and making her read a pornographic story he had written. The story was very detailed and very sexual. As a result of this behavior the female filed a sexual harassment complaint and settled her complaint for $22,500. The retaliation portion of her complaint arose after she rejected his sexual advances, and Simmonds retaliated by treating her poorly, and requested that she be transferred to his location.

She complained to Bon Appetit's district manager and provided a detailed account of the sexual harassment she had experienced. The district manager denied the harassment and stated that she had engaged in unacceptable behavior. Subsequently a raise she had been set to receive was revoked, and she was excluded from meetings. She resigned, believing that she had no choice and that her employer's treatment constituted a constructive discharge. It still amazes me that so many people in upper management take the approach of shooting the messenger instead of doing a proper investigation and resolving the problem. In this case Bon Appetit got off cheap.

Why such a low settlement? There are many reasons why people will accept amounts that may seem low. A person could be experiencing financial problems and low money today is more important that big money or the potential of big money years from now. Also in many cases having closure is very important and sometimes the money is only secondary.

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