EEOC, PepsiCo Reach Sexual Harassment Settlement

December 26, 2002 ( - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced a settlement in a sexual harassment suit against South Beach Beverage Company, Inc (SoBe), a division of PepsiCo, Inc.

The $1.79 million settlement comes as part of a Consent Decree, filed simultaneously with a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, after five SoBe female employees filed charges with the EEOC claiming sexual harassment and retaliation in the Norwalk, Connecticut sales and distribution facility.

Under the terms of the Consent the Decree, SoBe and PepsiCo have agreed to pay $1.79 million in monetary damages, to compensate the five female employees and to establish a claims fund for other unidentified victims of the sex discrimination.  

Additionally, the Consent Decree provides for the revision of anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies and continued training on these issues.

However, the EEOC stated that PepsiCo, which acquired SoBe in January 2001, has demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and under the Consent Decree will work to ensure that the appropriate policies and training are implemented and adhered to at SoBe.

“We caution companies that are acquiring new entities to remain continuously vigilant in their efforts to identify, eliminate, remedy and prevent unlawful discrimination in the workplace,” said Katherine Bissell, Regional Attorney of the EEOC’s New York District Office, which handled the litigation.

The final Consent Decree settlement is contingent on the approval of a Federal District Court judge, which is currently pending.