Joe & the Juice, a Danish coffee, juice and sandwich chain, has agreed to pay $715,000 and hire an employment monitor to settle a federal discrimination charge alleging the company has failed to recruit, hire and promote females at its American restaurants.
The settlement was announced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Thursday, Feb. 2.
Joe & the Juice operates 11 locations around the Bay Area.
The agency investigated the allegations and found reasonable cause to believe Joe & the Juice violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC said the company’s practice of discriminating against females dates back to at least June 2017.
A resolution was attained through the EEOC’s pre-litigation administrative conciliation process.
Without admitting liability, Joe & the Juice has agreed to enter into a nationwide four-year conciliation agreement with the EEOC. The company has also agreed to appoint an EEO monitor to oversee the terms of the agreement, and restaurant chain said it will continue to make good-faith efforts to recruit, hire and promote females into in-store positions.
In a statement provided to Rueters, the company said it “actively promotes gender equality,” and that 57% of workers in its U.S. business are women compared with 53% worldwide.
It also said in recent years it has implemented a “more formalized recruitment process” that U.S. authorities sought.
Christine Park-Gonzalez, acting director of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, said businesses need to provide a level playing field in regard to hiring and career advancement.
“It is imperative that individuals have equal access to employment and promotion, regardless of sex,” Park-Gonzalez said in a statement. “It is encouraging to see Joe & the Juice take affirmative steps to increasing female representation in in-store positions.”
Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Copenhagen, Joe & the Juice recently had about 326 locations around the world, including 63 U.S. locations.
The EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office is responsible for receiving and investigating charges of employment discrimination and conducting agency litigation in several counties in California and Nevada, the state of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Wake Island.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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