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The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has filed to join a lawsuit against a local McDonald's franchisee after it's been alleged a manager sexually assaulted a young teen worker, with those who knew about it doing nothing.

The lawsuit alleges Hyder Investments Inc. violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act by fostering a culture of sexual harassment that led to a manager sexually assaulting a 14-year-old worker.

Related [Jan. 14, 2020]: Maple Grove McDonald's manager accused of raping 14-year-old employee sentenced to 10 years

“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,” Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said. “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.”

According to the lawsuit, a 24-year-old manager at a Maple Grove McDonald's used his position of power to "groom" a 14-year-old employee for a sexual relationship and then repeatedly assaulted her at the fast-food restaurant. 

At least two supervisors were aware of what was going on but they didn't do anything, the lawsuit said. And after the manager was arrested for criminal sexual conduct, the company only fired him for bringing marijuana to work but not for sexually assaulting the 14-year-old.

The lawsuit also says the company's sexual harassment policies were "ineffective and not provided to employees." The franchisee's policy listed a phone number made up of just the letter "X."

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is seeking structural change to ensure workers at all McDonald's locations have a safe working environment that's free of sexual harassment and assault, a news release said.

This is the latest lawsuit to be filed against McDonald's franchisees related to sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently sued a McDonald's franchisee for sexual harassment of workers in Nevada, Arizona and California. And a Pennsylvania-based franchise faced a lawsuit after a manager sexually assaulted a minor worker. The manager was a registered sex offender.

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