U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Females, Including Teens, Harassed at Several Albuquerque McDonald's, Federal Agency Charges
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - JEC Enterprises, Inc., which operates at least four McDonald's restaurants in Albuquerque, violated federal law by subjecting a group of female employees, including teens, to sexual harassment and forcing some women to resign, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed September 28th.
In its suit, the EEOC said that managers of an Albuquerque McDonald's operated by JEC sexually harassed Samantha Collins and Teneka Templeton, and also subjected a class of female workers at various McDonald's also operated by JEC to sexual harassment. The women, including some teenage hires, were subjected to pervasive sexual comments and innuendo and unwelcome touching or attempted touching of their bodies, which created a hostile work environment for them. The EEOC also alleges some women were forced to resign their employment because of the harassment and failure of the employer to provide prompt corrective action.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico (EEOC v. JEC Enterprises, Inc.,d/b/a McDonalds, Civil Action No. 1:12-cv-01015 CG/WDS)after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
"We continue to see a significant number of sexual harassment cases throughout our district," said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. "We are particularly concerned when managers and supervisors of companies are involved in harassing vulnerable teenagers and other women. The EEOC will prosecute such cases vigorously."
The lawsuit asks the court to order JEC to provide all the affected women with appropriate relief, including back wages for those forced to resign, compensatory and punitive damages, and to grant a permanent injunction enjoining the company from engaging in any further gender-discriminatory practice. The EEOC also asks the court to order the company to institute and carry out policies and practices that eradicate and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
"Our investigation revealed that sexual harassment of these women included teenagers working their first jobs," said EEOC Deputy District Director Elizabeth Cadle, "Employers have an important responsibility to maintain a workplace that is free of sexual harassment."
The EEOC recently updated its Youth@Work website (at http://www.eeoc.gov/youth/), which presents information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination. The website also contains curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities in the work force.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.