ST.PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Human Rights filed to join a lawsuit Tuesday against a McDonald’s franchisee for allegedly fostering a culture of sexual harassment that led to a manager sexually assaulting a minor employee.

The complaint describes how in 2018, a 24-year-old manager used his position of power to groom a 14-year-old employee for a sexual relationship and repeatedly sexually assaulted her while working at a Maple Grove McDonald’s, according to MDHR.

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According to the complaint, at least two supervisors were aware of the relationship and failed to act. Police arrested the manager at the restaurant for criminal sexual conduct, but the company only fired him for bringing marijuana to work.

“Workers – especially young workers – have the right to be safe at work. Here, McDonald’s failed to create a safe workplace when a manager repeatedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old worker,” said MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero. “Employers must create a culture where its employees can work with dignity, free from sexual harassment and assault. This lawsuit is a reminder that, in fact, employers have a legal obligation to do so.”

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MDHR says they are “seeking structural change to ensure employees at all McDonald’s locations are provided a safe work environment free from sexual harassment and assault.”

The lawsuit is one of many that have been filed across the country against McDonald’s franchisees for sexual harassment, according to MDHR.

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