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Restaurant chain Tapioca Express has agreed to pay more than $100,000 to settle a federal sexual harassment lawsuit involving two franchises in Chula Vista and National City, where the owner was accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward young female employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported Monday.

Tapioca Express will pay $102,500 due to the unidentified restaurant owner’s conduct toward Filipina employees between the ages of 17 and 23, according to the EEOC, which reported the harassment involved “repeated and unwanted comments of a sexual nature and physical contact,” which led some employees to quit their jobs.

The EEOC did not specify how many employees were harassed, but alleged that a written complaint did not lead to any changes regarding the harassment.

“We commend the young women for coming forward to shine a light on the harassment to which they were subjected,” said Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego office. “Their strength may give courage to other young people or those in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community who may be suffering harassment or discrimination in the workplace to come forward as well.”

In addition to the settlement money, Tapioca Express will hire an “external monitor” to review sexual harassment policies and procedures and establish a complaint procedure for employees. Anti-sexual harassment training will also be provided to all employees.

“Harassment remains a persistent problem in the workplace, which must be addressed top-down in any company,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles district office. “We are encouraged by the steps Tapioca Express has taken to resolve this matter and the measures it has put in place to prevent workplace harassment and discrimination.”

City News Service