McDonald’s Franchise Settles Sexual Harassment Case

The operator of 10 New England McDonald’s franchises is set to pay $1.6 million to settle allegations that a manager at the fast-food restaurant chain made sexual comments to employees and routinely groped them. Some of the victims were teenagers.

On Thursday, US District Judge William Sessions in Burlington, Vermont, approved a consent decree that requires the franchisee, Coughlin Inc, to rebuild its anti-harassment policies. 

Last year, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit accusing the manager of a Coughlin-owned McDonald’s in Randolph, Vermont, of harassing both male and female employees over five years. The manager was fired in 2019 after a male employee’s parents filed a police report.

Coughlin denied any wrongdoing.

“This settlement sets the tone for employers to recognise their duty to keep workers safe, respect their dignity, and provide a workplace free of discrimination,” commented Acting Attorney General Joshua Diamond. 

“I want to thank our federal partners at the EEOC and Assistant Attorney General Emily Chamberlain Adams for their work on this important matter. Ensuring compliance with non-discrimination laws is critical to creating a safe, respectful, and inclusive workplace.”

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