AMTCR, Inc., AMTCR Nevada, Inc., and AMTCR California, LLC have been collectively operating as a single employer and/or integrated enterprise in Nevada, Arizona, and California, and have common management and ownership, centralized control of labor operations, and interrelation operations.
These three entities Collectively own, manage, and operate approximately twenty-two McDonald’s fast food restaurants in this tri-state region, and are collectively doing business as “McDonald’s.” The 22 restaurants operate under the common ownership and management of President/Owner Abelardo “Abe” Martinez III. And they share common managers, such as Director of Operations Theresa Hernandez and Area Supervisor Ruben Benitez, who both oversee employees throughout the tri-state region.
They share a common corporate headquarters and/or main office and human resources department for the entire tri-state region located in Kingman, Arizona.
And the EEOC just announced that this major McDonald’s franchisee has agreed to pay nearly $2 million to settle an EEOC sexual harassment lawsuit.
Prior to filing the civil action, the EEOC investigated a charge of discrimination that had been filed with the Commission. Following the investigation, the Commission issued Letters of Determination to the employer, finding reasonable cause to believe that Title VII was violated and inviting them to join with the Commission in informal methods of conciliation to endeavor to eliminate the discriminatory practices and provide appropriate relief.
But the Commission was unable to secure from Defendants a conciliation agreement acceptable to the Commission. Therefore, in September 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a civil lawsuit against the companies in the United States District Court District of Nevada, charging them with sexual harassment and constructive discharge in stores/restaurants in Nevada, Arizona, and California.
The EEOC alleged in general that the “sexual harassment included, but was not limited to, constant groping, grabbing, and rubbing of the arms, shoulders, thighs, and buttocks; offensive comments and gestures regarding male genitalia; sexual advances; and sexual ridicule, intimidation, and insults.” And that due to the employer’s failure to remedy the ongoing sexual harassment, “the Charging Party and many other adversely affected employees could no longer tolerate the hostile and abusive work environment and were subjected to constructive discharge.”
One of the several specific instances of misconduct listed in the Complaint involved a twenty-six-year-old female Shift Manager, and another by a twenty-one-year-old male Cook. Both were employed at Defendants’ McDonald’s store in Blythe, California. Both claimed to be sexually harassed by the at Defendants’ McDonald’s store in Blythe, California, the by same General Manager, and who was also the hiring manager at this McDonald’s store.
This Blythe General Manager was in charge of receiving and reviewing job applications, interviewing applicants, and making hiring decisions. He was allegedly particularly fond of the young male applicants. After conducting interviews, The General Manager would message young male applicants via Facebook and send them sexually inappropriate messages and requests for dates. The General Manager admitted to Claimant 5 that he informed these male applicants via Facebook that if they refused to sexually engage with him and/or date him, he would not hire them.
During 2017 to mid-2019, many employees complained to “Claimant 5” about the General Manager’s sexual comments and conduct. Claimant 5 would relay these employee complaints to upper management, but Defendants did nothing to stop the harassment.
In July 2019, Claimant 5 felt compelled to compile a list of all the sexual harassment complaints that she had received. Claimant 5 submitted the list of complaints to upper management with a request for an investigation and remedial action. Later in July 2019, an employee meeting was held at the store where Defendants required employees were required to sign an agreement regarding sexual harassment. However, allegedly no other remedial action was taken.
After the July 2019 employee meeting, Claimant 5 continued to receive complaints from employees about being subjected to sexually offensive comments by male managers and co-workers. These comments often related to co-workers’ body parts such as breast size.
The company has agreed to pay $1,997,500 to resolve the sexual harassment lawsuit. And it has agreed to provide significant, franchise-wide injunctive relief aimed at preventing discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
AMTCR has also agreed to retain an outside third-party EEO monitor who will conduct internal audits of AMTCR’s practices in handling harassment and retaliation complaints; establish a centralized tracking system for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation complaints; and ensure accountability and appropriate disciplinary action occur.