It is disturbing that a significant number of teenage fast-food workers have been sexually assaulted while on the job. From rape to coerced sexual acts, these forms of violence inflict deep trauma on survivors. They may experience anxiety, depression, and often long-term health consequences. It’s important to hold fast food chains accountable for employee sexual assault.  

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Sexual Assault in the Fast-Food Industry

Teenaged girls working in the fast-food industry are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault. Their lack of experience and vulnerability make them easy targets. Owing to their age, they typically have limited employment options and accept minimum-wage employment. It is often their first job, so they do not yet understand their rights or the proper working relationships between supervisors and other workers. 

Additionally, the hierarchical structure of the fast-food industry places them at a significant disadvantage compared to their older, more experienced male managers and supervisors. It is not uncommon for them to exploit their positions of authority.  

For example, they will escalate their predatory behavior by scheduling young girls to cover the nighttime shifts. They know that fewer workers or customers are present in the restaurant. Additionally, the transient nature of fast-food employment with high turnover rates can exacerbate this vulnerability among young female workers, making them hesitant to come forward.

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Liability of Fast-Food Chains

Most fast food restaurants are franchises, such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Dunkin Donuts, which exercise strict control over employees’ working conditions, including required training, discipline, and terminations. However, the corporate entities, that depend on franchisees to sell their products, often claim they don’t meet the legal definition of an employer when allegations of sexual assault or harassment surface. Yet, many have argued that both franchisees and corporations control working conditions and should count as” joint employees,” and thus, both should be held liable for workplace sexual assault.   

In addition, allegations in previous lawsuits argue that guidance on sexual assault and harassment provided by these companies is ineffective. Employees should also have access to human resources professionals within the company, someone they can safely reach out to without fear of retaliation to ensure a safe and respectful work environment.

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The occurrence of teenage workers raped by managers within the fast-food industry is deeply troubling. If you are a teenager and believe you have been sexually assaulted in the workplace, you do not have to suffer in silence or allow it to go unaddressed. Our workplace sexual assault lawyers are here to help survivors seek the maximum compensation they are entitled to. You deserve to have your voice heard, your rights protected, and justice served.

At Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, we understand the gravity of the harm inflicted and the urgent need for action. If you or your child has been sexually assaulted, contact our skilled and compassionate team. Survivors need compassionate advocacy and support. They also deserve the opportunity to seek justice, expose their abusers, attain closure, and move forward with their lives. Since we work on a contingency fee basis, you will not pay attorney’s fees unless we win compensation for you. Schedule a free and confidential consultation today.