Minnesota Human Rights Dept. sues McDonald's franchisee over sexual assault complaint

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is suing a local McDonald’s franchisee for allegedly fostering a culture of sexual harassment that led to a manager sexually assaulting an underage employee.

Tuesday, MDHR filed to join a lawsuit against Hyder Investments, Inc., a McDonald’s franchisee, which was initiated by a former Maple Grove McDonald’s employee last week. The complaint alleges that in 2018, a 24-year-old manager at the McDonald’s used his position of power to groom the employee, who was 14 at the time, for a sexual relationship and repeatedly sexually assaulted her at the restaurant.

According to the complaint, the employee told at least one of the other managers at the restaurant about the ongoing sexual harassment and assault and another one was aware of what was going on, but neither did anything to put a stop to it.

"Even after the police arrested the manager at the restaurant for criminal sexual conduct, the company only fired him for bringing marijuana to work – not for sexually harassing or assaulting the employee," MDHR said in a news release.

The complaint also alleges the company’s sexual harassment policies were ineffective and not provided to employees.

MDHR said in requesting to join the lawsuit, it is "seeking structural change to ensure employees at all McDonald’s locations are provided a safe work environment free from sexual harassment and assault."