Sonic Settles EEOC Suit for $2M

June 20, 2011 ( – Sonic Drive-In of Los Lunas, Ltd. and B&B Consultants, owners of a Sonic restaurant in Los Lunas, New Mexico, have agreed to settle an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit for $2 million.

This is the largest litigation settlement ever by the EEOC’s Albuquerque Area Office. Over 70 women are expected to receive relief through the decree. 

According to a press release, the agency charged that Robert Gomez, then a manager of and limited partner in the Los Lunas Sonic, subjected a class of women, including teenagers, to sexual harassment, including sexual comments and innuendo as well as unwanted touching.  The EEOC’s suit also alleged that women who asked Gomez to stop harassing them or complained about their work environment were subjected to retaliation in the terms and conditions of their employment, primarily by reducing their hours.    

The suit further alleged that employees were forced to quit their jobs because of the sexual harassment, retaliation, and/or the employer’s failure to provide preventive or remedial relief.   

In addition to the monetary relief, the decree prohibits Sonic from further discriminating or retaliating against its employees and requires Sonic to have policies and practices that will provide its employees a work environment free of sex discrimination and retaliation.  Sonic must also provide its employees in Los Lunas and other area stores anti-discrimination training and notice of the settlement and report other complaints to the EEOC for the duration of the decree.