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Teenager, McDonald's Settle Suit

Mar 23, 2005 |

McDonald's and a Damascus teenager have reached an out-of-court settlement in the girl's $5 million sexual-harassment lawsuit against the fast food company. The lawsuit, filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court in July 2003, charged that McDonald's Corp. created conditions that allowed managers in the Damascus franchise to sexually harass female employees who were minors.

The attorney representing the victim, declined to comment on the settlement other than to say that recently the "case was settled to the parties' satisfaction."

A McDonald's representative could not be reached for comment. The victim, who was a learning disabled 17-year-old in July 2002 when she was hired to work at the Damascus McDonald's, alleged the sexual improprieties were carried out from that time until September 2002 when she spoke to a female manager. Because the accuser in the lawsuit is also a victim, The Gazette is not identifying her.

The McDonald's job was the girl's first, according to her attorney. Because of her learning disability she processes information on a much lower level than what is normal for her age, she said.

Police investigators determined that another female employee, a 16 year old, was also sexually harassed. Two of former managers at the McDonald's pleaded guilty in spring 2003 to misdemeanor criminal charges.

The girl's lawsuit alleged that the two managers "committed offensive acts of harassment, discrimination and sexual assault," against the victim and others in the restaurant. Unwelcome sexually oriented comments, solicitation, touching and other behavior "caused the plaintiff to reasonably fear, on a daily basis, that she may be subjected at any time, at any location within the store to harassment, discrimination and related sexual assault," according to the complaint.

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