Cracker Barrel settles sexual harassment suit

LAS CRUCES N.M. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, the Lebanon, Tenn.-based family-dining chain, has agreed to pay $270,000 to five former female employees to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, N.M., on behalf of the women, who claimed they were sexually harassed by a former manager and that the manager retaliated against at least two of the women for opposing his advances. The suit alleged that manager Daniel Guzman made unwelcome verbal comments of a sexual nature, such as explicit comments about female body parts and sex acts, and simulated the male anatomy by putting items between his legs.

A spokeswoman for Cracker Barrel said the situation at the Las Cruces, N.M., store was an isolated incident and that Guzman is no longer employed by Cracker Barrel.

“Cracker Barrel and the EEOC share the same goal: a workplace free of harassment,” said company spokeswoman Julie Davis.

Cracker Barrel operates 562 restaurants and gift shops in 41 states.