Chipotle will have to pay $7.65 million to a Houston woman who says she was sexually assaulted while working at one of the chain’s restaurants as a teenager. According to a report in the Daily Mail, the woman said in an employment lawsuit filed against Chipotle that she was 16 when she worked there. She says an assistant manager touched her inappropriately and sexually assaulted her repeatedly. She also alleged that the location’s general manager knew about the assaults, but did nothing to stop them. She sued both the managers and Chipotle saying that the restaurant allowed the assaults to happen.
Repeated Sexual Assaults
A Harris County jury awarded the woman $7.65 million plus legal fees. The assistant manager, who could be criminally prosecuted for sexually assaulting a minor, has reportedly fled to Mexico. The woman’s attorney said she left the restaurant after enduring four months of assaults. He described the environment in Chipotle thus: “It’s almost like a brothel that just served food.”
Her attorney added that the evidence showed that one of the supervisors at the restaurant had more than 50 encounters of unprotected sexual intercourse with the teenager and oral sex. Chipotle officials characterized the incidents as a “personal relationship” that occurred outside the workplace. They also denied that any of its employees was notified about the incidents. They said it came to their attention only when the teen’s parents filed a lawsuit.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
It is unlawful to harass a person (whether he or she is an applicant or an employee) sexually. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature and of course sexual assaults. Rape and sexual assault or abuse are criminal acts and must be reported to law enforcement right away. If the harassment is verbal, report them to your supervisor. Sexual harassment, whether it’s physical or verbal, creates a hostile work environment for employees.
If you are experiencing sexual harassment in your workplace, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. Contact an experienced California employment lawyer who will fight hard to protect your rights and hold the employer accountable for failing to take the necessary steps from preventing the harassment.