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PRESS RELEASE
3-24-09

McDONALD’S FRANCHISE TO PAY $115,000 FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF TWO YOUNG WOMEN

EEOC Says Male Manager Engaged in Physical and Verbal Abuse of Teen Worker

ALBUQUERQUE – An Albuquerque-based McDonald’s restaurant franchise will pay $115,000 and provide significant remedial relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of two young female employees, including a teenager, the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit charged that Alejandra Jasso, then age 17, was subjected to egregious physical and verbal sexual harassment, including severe physical abuse, by a former management official of LPG Enterprises, Inc. The company operates at least 15 McDonald’s franchises in Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

According to the EEOC, Jasso was also subjected to retaliation and forced to resign her employment because of the harassment, the retaliation, and the employer’s failure to provide appropriate preventive or remedial relief. The EEOC also obtained relief for Antionette Trujillo, who, the EEOC alleged, was also subjected to sexual harassment by the same manager.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 08-cv-606 JAP/RLP in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

“Employers must recognize their responsibility to assure that young workers – one of the most vulnerable segments of the labor force – are not harassed at work,” said Chester V. Bailey, director of the EEOC’s Phoenix office. “The EEOC will not hesitate to use its full enforcement authority to protect teenagers in the workplace.”

Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix, Denver and Albuquerque offices, said, “EEOC vigorously prosecutes claims of harassment, especially cases involving teenagers, many of whom, like Ms. Jasso, are in the workplace for the first time.”

Under the terms of the consent decree resolving the case, the defendants will pay Jasso $90,000 and Trujillo $25,000. The decree also provides for significant non-monetary relief, including letters of reference for the victims; training on sex discrimination in the defendant’s New Mexico facilities; posting notices of non-discrimination in defendant’s workplaces; and an injunction prohibiting further discrimination and retaliation.

“We are particularly pleased with the measures that this employer has agreed to take to prevent and address workplace harassment,” said Loretta Medina, the EEOC’s Albuquerque trial attorney who prosecuted the case. “It is in all our interests to have an educated teen work force.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.