Bennigan's Managers Accused of Sexual Harassment

August 18, 2006 ( - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit accusing Bennigan's restaurant managers in Stamford, Connecticut of sexually harassing at least two female employees.

The Stamford Advocate reports the lawsuit claims several managers subjected the two women, and possibly others, to sexual harassing conduct, including unwanted and inappropriate touching, sexually explicit comments, sexual advances, demands for sexual favors and demeaning language. The lawsuit alleges that, on one occasion, a manager cornered a woman in a storage room, grabbed her by the wrist and forcibly kissed her, according to the Advocate.

The former employee, who filed the complaint with the EEOC, said the incidents began around December 2003. She claims a district manager kissed her and other female employees on the back of their necks while commenting on their beauty. She also accuses a kitchen manager of following her into a storage closet, where he flicked the lights and said “three hours in here with me, baby.”

She said her complaints to supervisors were ignored and, as a result of the harassment, she quit in September 2004.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit after an unsuccessful attempt to settle with the Bennigan’s parent company, Benni’s LLC. The lawsuit seeks a court order for the restaurant chain to provide sexual harassment training for staff and counseling for alleged victims; to provide back pay with prejudgment interest in amount to be determined at trial; to compensate employees for nonpecuniary losses, including pain, suffering and humiliation; and to pay punitive damages for their malicious and reckless conduct in amounts to be determined at trial.