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EEOC files sexual harassment lawsuit against Arizona McDonald's franchise owner

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against a McDonald’s franchise owner in Arizona accusing the company of allowing sexual harassment to occur at restaurants across three states.

AMTCR is the Kingman-based company that owns 22 McDonald’s restaurants in Arizona, Nevada and California. The Arizona Corporation Commission lists Abe Martinez III as president and director. 

Since at least 2017, the EEOC said the company was aware of and tolerated harassment by supervisors, managers and coworkers that mainly targeted teenage employees. Male and female workers complained of  unwanted groping and touching, offensive comments and gestures, intimidation and insults.

In a press release, Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office said, “Young workers are particularly vulnerable to harassment in the workplace as they are more likely to be unaware of their rights and can be taken advantage [of] by their employer.”

In its lawsuit, the EEOC says the franchise owner failed to address the harassment forcing many workers to quit. 

“It is the employer’s responsibility to take all reports of harassment seriously, promptly investigate those complaints, and provide effective remedial action to end harassment in the workplace,” said Michael Mendoza, director of EEOC’s Las Vegas Local Office

The EEOC said it filed suit in U.S. District Court for Nevada after attempting to reach a settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks back wages and financial damages and injunctive relief intended to prevent further sexual harassment.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.