United States District Court, N.D. California
November 21, 2005.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff, MASUMEH ZANGANEH, Individual, Intervener,
ROWTOWN, INC. D/B/A THE FISH HOPPER RESTAURANT, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: RONALD WHYTE, District Judge
On April 10, 2003, Plaintiff Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC" or "Commission") filed this action pursuant to
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), and
Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The EEOC alleged that
Defendant Rowtown Inc. d/b/a The Fish Hopper Restaurant
("Defendant") discriminated against Charging Party Masumeh
Zanganeh and other similarly situated female employees.
Specifically, the EEOC alleged that the women were subjected to a
sexually hostile work environment and that Ms. Zanganeh was
retaliated against for her complaints about the harassment. The EEOC further alleges
that Ms. Zanganeh was constructively discharged due to
retaliation and Defendant's failure to take corrective action in
response to her complaint.
The First Hopper denies the EEOC's and Ms. Zanganeh's
allegations. The First Hopper became aware of virtually all of
Ms. Zanganeh's complaints of sexual harassment after the
voluntarily resigned and field a Charge of Discrimination with
the EEOC. During her tenure, The Fish Hopper was aware of only
one of her complaints of sexual harassment, perpetrated by a
coworker, and The Fish Hopper terminated the employment of that
coworker. The Fish Hopper denies that Ms. Zanganeh ever
complained to any member of management about any of the other
allegations of sexual harassment made in this action. Regarding
the complaints of the similarly situated females, The Fish Hopper
was aware of only one complaint by on claimant and took
appropriate corrective action immediately after becoming aware of
the complaint. The Fish Hopper denies that any of the remaining
claimants reported the alleged sexual harassment or that it has
reason to know of the alleged harassment and claims that it is
therefore not liable for the alleged harassment.
II. NON-ADMISSION OF LIABILITY
This consent decree is not an adjudication or finding on the
merits of this and shall not be construed as an admission of a
violation of Title VII by Defendants.
The Court has reviewed the terms of this Consent Decree in
light of the pleadings, the record herein, and the applicable
law, and now approves the Consent Decree in its entirely.
Therefore, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED as
III. GENERAL PROVISIONS
1. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter and
parties to this action.
2. This Consent Decree constitutes a full resolution of the
EEOC's complaint and the Intervener's Amended Complaint in
Intervention in Civil Action C-03-01522-RMW (HRL).
3. This Consent Decree shall become effective upon its entry by
the Court. 4. This Consent Decree is final and binding upon the Parties,
their successors and assigns.
5. The EEOC and Defendant shall bear their own costs and
IV. GENERAL INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
1. Sexual Harassment
Defendant, its officers, agents, management (including all
supervisory employees, successors and assigns, and all those in
active concert or participation with them, or any of them, hereby
agree not to: (a) engage in or be a party to any action, policy
or practice that is intended to or is known to them to have the
effect of sexually harassing or intimidating any employee on the
basis of sex; or (c) create, facilitate or permit the existence
of discrimination on the basis of sex.
Defendant, its officers, agents management (including
supervisory employees), successors or assigns, and all those in
active concert or participation wit them, agree not to engage in,
implement or permit any action, policy or practice with he
purpose of retaliating against any current or former employee of
Defendant because he or she complained about sexual harassment,
filed a charge of discrimination alleging any such practice;
testified or participated in any manner in any investigation
(including, without limitation, any internal investigation
undertaken by Defendant), proceedings or hearing in connection
with this case, and/or relating to any claim of sexual harassment
or retaliation, or was identified as a possible witness in this
V. SPECIFIC INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
In order to effectuate the objectives embodied in this Consent
Decree, within thirty (30) days after the entry of this Consent
Decree, Defendant shall insure that is policies procedure and
practices include the following:
(i) the policy will include an employee's right to complaint
regarding sexual harassment and retaliation;
(ii) the policy will provide specific contact information, with
an "800" phone number, for complaints of discrimination or harassment as Defendant has done
in the past;
(iii) the policy will provide a prompt investigation after a
complaint is made, and for responding to the request or
(iv) the policy will require that promptly upon the conclusion
of its investigation of a complaint, Defendant will communicate
to the employee the company's decision on the results of the
investigation and the remedial actions taken or proposed if any.
(v) the policy will include a definition of retaliation and
strong non-retaliation language with examples.
2. Policy Dissemination:
(i) beginning within 60 days of the entry of this decree, the
policy, as discussed above, will be hand-delivered to each and
every employee of Defendant; and
(ii) the policy will be posted on all company bulletin boards
for the duration of the decree.
3. Supervisor Accountability Policy:
(i) Defendant agrees that is shall impose substantial
discipline up to and including termination, suspension without
pay or demotion upon any supervisor or other manager, who
engages in sexual harassment or retaliation or, who permit any
such conduct to occur in his or her work area or among employees
under his or her supervision.
(ii) Supervisors and managers also shall be accountable for
forwarding complaints of sexual harassment and/or retaliation to
he individuals charged with handling such complaints pursuant to
Defendant's existing policy.
(iii) Defendant agrees this it will revise its supervisor
review process, as necessary, to ensure that appropriate
communication of anti-discrimination policies and appropriate
handling of sexual harassment complains are included as an
element of the reviews.
4. Complaint and Investigation Procedure
Defendant shall insure its complaint procedure designed to
encourage employees to come forward with complaints of sexual
harassment and/or retaliation. As part of the policy, Defendant shall provide its employee
with convenient, confidential and reliable mechanisms for
reporting incidents of sexual harassment and retaliation.
Defendant shall designate each manager and supervisor as a
contact person with responsibility for responding to and/or
turning complaints over to Human Resources or to a third party
responsible for investigating such complaints.
The complaint procedure shall provide that: (a) complaints of
discrimination or harassment and/or retaliation will be accepted
by Defendant both in writing and orally; (b) the Company will
promptly commence an investigation after a complaint is made or
received, and for remedial action if any to be taken upon
conclusion of an investigation; and (c) promptly upon the
conclusion of the investigation of a complaint, Defendant will
communicate to the employee the results of the investigation,
including what remedial actions if any have been taken, or are
5. Training Program
Defendant will present to all of its current employees,
including management employees and supervisory, at least two
hours of mandatory equal employment opportunity training once
everyyear for the duration of this Consent Decree. The first
training shall be held on or before July 1, 2006 in recognition
of the facts that such training has already been conducted for
2005. The cost of the training shall be borne by Defendant.
The training described in the Preceding paragraph shall be
in-person or interactive training, accompanied by materials
prepared by experienced educators and/or investigators, and shall
educate the employees about the problems of discrimination in the
workplace. The purpose of the training will be to give
participants a thorough understanding of discrimination and
harassment issues, including but not limited to theories of
liability under Title VII, sources of legal protection for
victims of discrimination and harassment, and the employer's
obligation to take preventive, investigative, and remedial action
with respect to discrimination and harassment complaints, and to
review company policies (including discipline policies) and
practices to discrimination, harassment and retaliation. The
training will further inform each participant that he or she is
responsible for knowing and complying with the contents of
Defendant's equal employment opportunity policy. Defendant shall provide to the EEOC ten (10) days in advance of
the each training a copy of the course syllabus for the training.
All persons attending each mandatory equal employment
opportunity training shall sign an acknowledgment of his or her
attendance at the training, the date thereof, and his or her
position with the company. All participants shall also be given a
questionnaire through which they will be asked to critique the
training and to provide suggestions to improve future training
sessions. Defendant will provide a copy of these attendance
records, the completed post-training questionnaires, and the
training materials to the Commission within thirty (30) days of
completion of the training.
6. Posting and other Notices to Employees
Defendant will post a copy of its policies regarding sexual
harassment and the hotline as required in Section V(1) of this
Consent Decree in clearly visible locations where such notices
generally addressing employee issues are normally and customarily
Each employee shall be asked to sign an acknowledgment that he
or she has received and read the policy. The same acknowledgment
shall be required of all newly hired employees, including all
managers and supervisors, at the start of their employment.
VII. MONETARY RELIEF
Defendant agrees to pay the total sum of Two Hundred Thousand
Dollars, to be allocated as determined by the Commission to
Claimants for their claims as set forth in this Decree. Within 30
(thirty) days after the date of the lodging of this Decree with
the Court and it being fully executed, Defendant shall pay
directly to EEOC the first of two equal installment payments,
each installment payment set forth in attached Exhibit A. Exhibit
A is incorporated herein by reference and will be separately
filed with the Court under seal. The second installment payment
shall be due on or before 90 days after the date of the lodging
of this Decree. Each installment payment shall be in the form of
a certified check, made payable directly to the individual
Claimant and mailed directly to the EEOC in care of Linda
Ordonio-Dixon at the EEOC's San Francisco offices at 350 The
Embarcadero Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94105-1260.
Defendant's payment shall be considered timely if it is
postmarked within three days after the due date. In the event that the EEOC does not receive a
payment within five days after the due date, the EEOC shall give
Defendant written notice of the alleged default by certified
mail, and thereafter Defendant shall have ten days within which
to cure the alleged default. In the event Defendant then makes
payment of the amount in default within ten days after it
receives notice of the alleged default by certified mail, the
payment schedule shall remain in effect. In the event, however,
that Defendant fails to make any payment within the
aforementioned ten days, EEOC may at its option, move the Court
for entry of judgment against Defendant in the amount of the
unpaid balance of the Two Hundred Thousand Dollars settlement
amount, plus interest on such unpaid amount at the rate of 10%
per annum from the date of the default only, less all amounts
previously paid by Defendant. EEOC shall give notice of any such
motion for entry of judgment to Defendant and its attorneys. If
judgment is entered against Defendant on such motions, EEOC may
enforce and collect the judgment.
2. The amounts above are being paid in complete compromise of
all disputed issues, including Intervener's state law claims,
arising out of the Complaint and the Amended Complaint in
Intervention filed in this lawsuit, Civil Action No.
C-03-01522-RMW (HRL) EEOC v. Rowtown Inc., d.b.a. The Fish Hopper
Restaurant in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California.
1. Six months after entry of the Decree and every six months
thereafter, Defendant will submit reports to the Commission
summarizing any requests for sexual harassment or retaliation
received by Defendant during the preceding six-month period. The
reports will include the identities of the complaint(s) and the
alleged harasser(s), if any, and a summary of action taken in
response to the request or complaint.
2. Within sixty (60) days of the entry of this Consent Decree,
Defendant will send to the EEOC a copy of the Equal Employment
3. Within thirty (30) days after completion of the yearly
employee and supervisory trainings described in Section V(5)
above, Defendant will send the Commission appropriate
verification of its completion of training, and will provide a copy of the
records indicated in Section V(6).
4. Defendant shall submit a final report to the EEOC thirty
(30) days before the Consent Decree expires containing a
statement verifying its compliance with the terms of the Consent
IX. RETENTION OF JURISDICTION AND EXPIRATION OF CONSENT DECREE
1. The duration of this Consent Decree shall be three (3)years
from the date of entry of the Decree, provided that defendant has
complied substantially with the terms of this Consent Decree.
Defendant will be deemed to have complied substantially if the
Court has not made any finding or orders during the term of the
Consent Decree that the defendant has failed to comply with any
terms of this Consent Decree.
2. The EEOC shall be entitled to its reasonable costs and
attorneys' fees in connection with any civil action to enforce
compliance with the terms and conditions of this Consent Decree.
3. This Court shall retain jurisdiction over this matter and
the Parties for the purpose of enforcing compliance with the
Consent Decree, including issuing such orders as may be required
to effectuate its purposes.
4. If any provisions of this Consent Decree is found to be
unenforceable by a court of competent jurisdiction, only the
specific provision in question shall be affected and the other
enforceable provisions shall remain in full force and effect.
5. Any documents or information required to be submitted by
Defendant to the EEOC under the terms of this Consent Decree
shall be addressed to Linda Ordonio-Dixon, Trial Attorney, EEOC,
350 The Embarcadero Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, California
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