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Popeyes Franchise Ordered to Pay $50k After Harassing, Firing Gay Employee

Popeyes Franchise Ordered to Pay $50k After Harassing, Firing Gay Employee

<p>Popeyes Franchise Ordered to Pay $50k After Harassing, Firing Gay Employee</p>

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission fined the franchise after an employee was harassed and fired due to his sexual orientation.

A Popeyes franchise in Wilkes-Barre Township, Penn., has been fined after a former employee said he was harassed and terminated because of his sexual orientation.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ordered the restaurant to pay the employee, Kyle Rodin, $48,840 for failing to provide a workplace free from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to a news release.

The franchise, registered under the name Wilkes Barre Chicken LLC, ignored an initial complaint from the PHRC, and did not send any representatives to a public hearing in April regarding the incident.

“This order affirms that sexual harassment of any kind will not be tolerated in Pennsylvania,” PHRC Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter said in a statement.

"Retaliating against someone who opposes harassment is against the law," he continued. "The order should serve as a deterrent for any employer who looks the other way when sexual harassment occurs in their place of business or who fails to respond to complaints served by the Commission."

In addition to the fine, the LLC was ordered to cease and desist from firing employees due to their sex and sexual orientation. The business must also report to the PHRC in 30 days with a plan for complying with the order.

On Wednesday, members of Action Together NEPA, an advocacy group, gathered in front of the Wilkes-Barre Popeyes to support the PHRC's decision, and to protest for increased legal protections for LGBTQ+ people across Pennsylvania.

“Currently, local ordinances [granting nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ residents] only cover about 30% percent of Pennsylvanians,” Levi Larouche, community organizer for Action Together, told the Times Leader. “That is not nearly enough.”

“We’re going to do the fighting that we can on the local level," he added, "but ultimately all Pennsylvanians deserve these rights."

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