Saturday, October 21, 2000

Hooters decision appealed

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A former Hooters waitress is appealing a federal judge's decision to knock $250,000 off a $275,000 sexual harassment award.

        Sarah Steinhoff,, 24, of Clifton filed an appeal Friday in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Her suit was against Upriver Restaurant Joint Venture, which owns the Hooters restaurant in Newport, where she worked from August 1996 through 1997.

        At the end of a three-day trial in July, a jury of five women and four men awarded her $250,000 in punitive damages and $25,000 in compensatory damages.

        Ms. Steinhoff had testified that she suffered unwanted sexual advances, demeaning behavior and recrimination from two of the restaurant's managers. She said they tried to force her to go home with them, and one threatened to tie her up.

        Other former waitresses testified that the managers made waitresses perform in the restaurant's “Friday Night Football” bikini contest as a means of discipline.

        The supervisors never testified.

        But last week, U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman said Ms. Steinhoff deserved only compensatory damages. He said he rejected the punitive damages award because:

        • Trial evidence hadn't proved that Hooters managers harassed her maliciously or with reckless indifference.

        • The chain made a good faith effort to stop sexual harassment and couldn't be held liable for its managers' actions.

        • The restaurant posted a sexual harassment policy near the waitresses' schedules. A toll-free number was listed to anonymously report harassment.


Drinking water along Ohio River safe for now
Ashland officials prepare for worst
Older towns losing people
A statesman, a dad laid to rest
County race: Battle of the ads
Judges ask drug court expansion
At Lakota, the twain meet
Debate resumes on issuing Tasers to police officers
RAMSEY: Education
Abuser's freedom raises questions
Crackdown on teen drugs, drinking urged
Dems see 1st district as vital
Fates of 2 old schools undecided
Father guilty of killing baby
Fugitive must pay for crash
He's perfect on ACT and SAT
- Hooters decision appealed
HOWARD: Neighborhoods
Is it art or garbage? Both
Lucas, 3 foes trade views without heat
MCNUTT: Fond look back
Paducah plant gets $90M for cleanup
Patton-Williams fight gets personal
Schools lose stalwart
Suspect in wife's death remains in jail
Teen home skirts laws on licensing
Traffic deal to bring down Cintas gate
Xenia gets anti-twister aid
Kentucky News Briefs
Tristate A.M. Report