EEOC files suits against owner of Minnesota Culver’s over hostile work environment, pay disparities 

In two lawsuits filed today, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged Minnesota-based R&G Endeavors Inc., a fast-food franchisee doing business as Culver’s Restaurants of Cottage Grove, with the following violations of federal law:  

  • That it subjected employees to a hostile work environment based on race, sex, sexual orientation, and disability; and  
  • That it denied a long-serving employee with a disability equal pay and pay raises because of his disability. 

According to the EEOC’s filings, multiple workers endured harassment at the Culver’s Cottage Grove, Minnesota restaurant. In one instance, managers and other employees singled out a gay and African American employee for racial and homophobic insults that included the n-word and f-word, discussed his sex life, and referred to him as the restaurant’s “adopted African child.” 

The company also subjected another employee, who has a disability, to bullying and disability-related slurs, while paying him less than his co-workers without disabilities.  

In addition, the company exposed female employees as young as 14 to sexual harassment that included unwanted sexual touching, jokes, and propositions.  

Employees reported these conditions to management, but the company failed to reasonably address the harassment or discipline those responsible. The working conditions forced one employee to quit, the EEOC alleges. 

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota after first attempting to reach pre-litigation settlements through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary relief for the affected employees as well as an order requiring the company to take steps to stop and prevent future workplace harassment and pay disparities. 

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story failed to note that the Culver’s restaurant in question is located in Cottage Grove, Minn., not Cottage Grove, Wis.