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Importer Settles Sex Harassment Suit

June 4, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ A beverage importer who marketed the German liqueur Jagermeister by using models to promote it in bars and restaurants has agreed to pay $2.6 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the deal _ touted as the largest such settlement in New York state history _ with Sidney Frank Importing Co. and its subsidiary, All State Promotions Inc., on Thursday.

The commission plans to divide the settlement among Sidney Frank employees across the country who believe they were harassed. So far, women have come forward from Texas, California, New York, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Florida and Alaska.

Two former ``Jagerettes″ appeared Thursday on behalf of the 100 or so women who claimed they were grabbed, groped and even licked by company President Sidney Frank, as well as by customers.

``His idea of being a team player, of making the (boss) happy, was submitting to his sexual advances,″ said 28-year-old Patrice Chase of Philadelphia.

Frank was not named personally as a defendant in the case, but was he was accused in court papers of grabbing and kissing employees.

In the settlement, the company denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to make changes in the way it handles future complaints.

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