McDonald's Franchise to Pay $505,000 for Sexual Harassment

A Durango, Colo.-based McDonald's restaurant franchise will pay $505,000 and provide significant remedial relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a class of young female employees, including teens. The Commission's suit, announced April 7, alleged that a class of females, many of whom were 15 to 17 years old, and several individual females were subjected to egregious sexual harassment in the workplace by their male supervisor. The harassment allegedly included the supervisor biting the breasts and grabbing the buttocks of the class members, and making numerous sexual comments and offers of favors in exchange for sex.

"The EEOC will vigorously prosecute claims of harassment, especially cases involving teenagers, many of whom are in the workplace for the first time," said Mary Jo O'Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC's Phoenix, Denver, and Albuquerque offices.

Under the terms of the consent decree resolving the case, the defendants will pay two named victims and their attorney a total of $450,000 for compensatory damages and attorney fees. An additional $55,000 will be distributed to two other class members represented by the EEOC. The decree also provides for significant non-monetary relief, including letters of apology to the victims; training on sex discrimination in the defendants' Colorado and New Mexico facilities; posting notices of non-discrimination in all of the defendants' workplaces; and an injunction prohibiting discrimination and retaliation.

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