Three female employees have filed a million-dollar lawsuit against the owners of an IHOP restaurant on allegations of sexual misconduct.
The women say they alerted management, but nothing was done. The lawsuit filed in federal court, raises more broad questions about the treatment of especially female employees in the restaurant industry.
"It never ceases to dumbfound me what these corporations will let happen and how they let abuse go on and on before taking any action," said attorney Mary Parker.
"Unfortunately, when that happens we have to get involved," said attorney Stephen Crofford.
The two are suing the company which operates the IHOP restaurant in Hermitage. Their three female clients allege a pattern of sexual harassment from a fellow male employee.
"These types of actions alleged, rubbing crotch against the female employees, asking if they feel that, if they like that," said Crofford.
The lawyers say the women reported the inappropriate conduct repeatedly, but nothing was done.
"They reported it thinking something would take place an investigation which did not occur him being fired which did not occur," said Parker.
She and Crofford said they see a pattern of this type of inappropriate conduct in other cases they've handled involving other restaurants in the industry.
They say there are often young, female employees who find themselves victim to unwanted comments and worse.
But too often they said managers turn a blind eye toward it.
"When you complain about problems it seems like they are hesitant to bring in the corporate HR department as they are coached up to do," said Crofford.
And in this day and age failure to do so can cost you if you lose in court.
The plaintiffs in the case will ask for $300,000 each for humiliation and embarrassment. The LLC which operates the IHOP in Hermitage released the following statement:
“Harassment of any kind is not tolerated in our restaurants. As soon as these allegations were brought to the attention of the franchise owner, they launched an investigation and that process is currently ongoing. Our operators, as well as the brand, take allegations of this nature very seriously and are committed to maintaining a safe environment for all team members.”