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EEOC reaches $1 million sexual harassment settlement with McDonald’s

By: Cristina Janda//November 23, 2012//

EEOC reaches $1 million sexual harassment settlement with McDonald’s

By: Cristina Janda//November 23, 2012//

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached a $1 million settlement agreement in a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin against Missoula Mac Inc., doing business as McDonald’s Restaurants.

The settlement included injunctive relief to resolve a class sexual harassment lawsuit.

According to court documents, the defendant was the owner and franchisee of 25 McDonald’s restaurants, including one located in Reedsburg, where female employees alleged the defendant had permitted male employees to create a hostile work environment of sexual harassment against female coworkers, including teenagers, and the defendant had retaliated against those who complained about sexual harassment.

The conduct allegedly had been going on since 2006.

Certain female employees claimed they had specifically been subjected to sexual comments, kissing, touching of their private areas, and forcing of their hands onto the male employees’ private areas. When those employees complained of the conduct, their employment reportedly was terminated.

The EEOC’s complaint brought claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 200e et seq., and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981a.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb entered the consent decree July 18.

Under the terms of the consent decree, the defendant was to pay out the $1 million in compensatory damages to 10 former employees who claimed they had been sexually harassed at the Reedsburg McDonald’s. The defendant also agreed to evaluate the performance of its managers and supervisors, track and maintain records of all sexual harassment and retaliation complaints, implement a comprehensive training program for employees to be able to identify sexual harassment and properly investigate internal complaints, post notices at all its restaurants informing employees that it had settled a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit with the EEOC and publicizing some of the settlement terms, and provide periodic reports to the EEOC demonstrating its compliance with the terms of the consent decree, among other things.

The EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, John Hendrickson, said “The ongoing sexual harassment in Reedsburg, and the company’s refusal to stop it, devolved into a culture of oppression, retaliation and fear. Women who work in restaurants have it tough enough without having to put up with sexual harassment.”


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