Teenage Employee Harassed by Male Supervisor, Federal Agency Charges
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - Par Ventures, Inc., a North Carolina corporation which operates a chain of seven McDonald's fast food restaurants, violated federal law when it subjected a female employee to a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, on or around Dec. 11, 2017, a "people manager" at Par Ventures' Parmlee Drive McDonald's in Fayetteville, N.C., sexually harassed a female employee. The EEOC charged that Jhaniya Walker, who was 16 years old at the time of the harassment, was subjected to sexual comments, sexual requests and touching by her male supervisor. The alleged misconduct also included the male supervisor offering Walker money for nude pictures of herself and asking her explicit sexual questions. The complaint also alleges the supervisor sexually assaulted Walker. According to the complaint, Par Ventures knew or should have known about the male supervisor's sexually harassing behavior prior to the December 2017 abusive events.
The EEOC brought the lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment. The EEOC sued after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case (EEOC v. Par Ventures, Inc. d/b/a McDonald's, Civil Action No. 5:19-cv-00341) was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina on August 7, 2019. The EEOC seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief.
"The EEOC is committed to ensuring that all workers are free from sexual harassment on the job," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "Such abuse is especially unconscionable when the victims are our country's most vulnerable workers - teenagers. Employers have a responsibility to prevent such harassment and to stop it when they learn this kind of misconduct is occurring in their workplace."
The EEOC's Youth@Work website (at https://www.eeoc.gov/youth/) presents information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination, including curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.