The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced a settlement with Cheesecake Factory, Inc., a nationwide restaurant chain, arising out of charges that six male employees were subjected to repeated sexual harassment at an Arizona restaurant. In addition to a monetary settlement and other measures, the Cheesecake Factory agreed to "institute an ombudsman to field and address sexual harassment complaints by employees." No other details regarding the Ombuds program were released. (EEOC Press Release.)
Many EEOC discrimination cases have been settled with the defendant company agreeing to implement an Ombuds program. In most cases, the details are sparse and later it is impossible to locate any public information regarding the promised Ombuds program. (See, e.g., Nike Settles Discrimination Lawsuit, Agrees to Ombuds; Minneapolis Restaurant Settles EEOC Lawsuit, Agrees to Hire Ombuds; Trucking Firm Settles Discrimination Lawsuit and Agrees to Hire Ombuds.) The rare exception was Coca Cola's settlement of an EEOC case in 2000 that resulted in a prominent Ombuds office.