MASON, Mich. — A federal lawsuit alleges that a manager at the McDonald’s restaurant on Cedar Street in Mason sexually harassed and assaulted nearly 100 women and girls, sometimes groping them or propositioning them for sex over a four-year period while company officials did nothing.
Now, a federal judge is ruling that the lawsuit can move forward as a class action suit. The suit was originally filed back in 2019 and amended this summer.
“His harassment was heard by all and seen by all. You didn’t have to be standing next to him to be subjected to his abuse. You could be in another part of the restaurant and still be subjected to a torrent of sexual talk, touching or abuse directed at other people,” said American Civil Liberties Union attorne, Gillian Thomas.
Plaintiff Jenna Ries claims the manager put his penis in her hand while they were working next to each other.
Another woman said she was coerced into having sex with the manager in exchange for more hours on the schedule.
Many of the women complained to upper management but, despite that, the manager worked there for four years.
Thomas says Wednesday’s ruling is a victory for the victims because many come from disadvantaged backgrounds
“These are among the most vulnerable workers for a variety of reasons. They tend to be younger and have less formal education about their rights. They may have more tenuous economic circumstances because they are making minimum wage,” said Thomas.
Today's ruling means that the class action suit against the franchise owner, MLMLM, can move forward.
Thomas said there is a conference in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan scheduled for Jan. 31. A trial date will be set at that time.
McDonald's did not respond to a message left seeking comment.
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