Del Taco settles U.S. sexual harassment charges, enters consent decree

Dec 2 (Reuters) - Del Taco Restaurants Inc agreed to pay $1.25 million and enter a three-year consent decree to settle a U.S. agency’s lawsuit accusing the fast food chain of failing to stop sexual harassment and retaliation against female employees.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said on Wednesday that the decree requires Del Taco to retain an employment monitor, train employees on anti-discrimination laws with an emphasis on sexual harassment, and make it easier for employees to report discrimination and harassment.

Del Taco’s settlement stemmed from a September 2018 lawsuit in which the EEOC accused the general manager and a shift leader of stores near Rancho Cucamonga, California, of harassing female workers, including teenagers, through physical conduct, vulgar comments and propositions for sex.

The EEOC said the harassment, including by a third male employee, occurred almost daily, and that victims who spoke up were retaliated against by having their work schedules changed or hours shortened.

It also said Del Taco should have known what was occurring through complaints to supervisors, human resources and its 1-800 hotline, but failed to adequately follow up or discipline wrongdoers.

U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder in Los Angeles approved the consent decree on Monday.

Del Taco did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Lake Forest, California-based company said it recently had 596 stores in 15 U.S. states. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)