Macon, GA– A former employee for a Macon-area Chick-fil-A has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit alleging that he was sexually harassed by a male co-worker and his bosses failed to take steps that would stop the misconduct.
In the lawsuit, filed this month, Daniel Moncrief, 19, alleges that he was subjected to repeated sexual harassment from a male coworker.
Moncrief, who primarily worked in the front of the notoriously anti-gay fast food restaurant, said in his lawsuit that his coworker made sexual comments and touched him inappropriately, the Macon Telegraph reported.
Moncrief reported the harassment to his supervisors, but instead of taking disciplinary action against the offending employee, he was scheduled to work with his harasser more often and assigned him more duties. The lawsuit also alleges that some of Moncrief’s supervisors witnessed the inappropriate comments and he witnessed his coworker sexually harassing other employees.
His lawsuit states that the harassment was “humiliating, intimidating and threatening” and made Moncrief fear going to work. His quality of work suffered and he suffered from nightmares, according to the Macon Telegraph.
Moncrief is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and is seeking a jury trial. His attorney said his client gave the restaurant the opportunity to rectify his client’s complaint before they filed a formal lawsuit.
In a statement, the company said, “Chick-fil-A does not condone or tolerate sexual harassment of any kind. Since this is pending litigation against an independent owner-operator, we cannot comment on the specifics of this case.”
Teens are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment according to a study from last year conducted by the University of Illinois.
That study found that teen-aged employees in low-wage jobs such as fast food restaurants and retail stores were more likely to be harassed by older employees.
As survey of 116 teenagers found that 54 percent of females and 37 percent of males reported that they had been sexually harassed on the job.
Sexual harassment towards teen females is close to that of adult females, the rate of harassment targeted towards male teens is far higher than male adults. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission only 16.7 percent of male harassment allegations were filed in 2010.
The researchers also discovered that teens are adversely affected when they are sexually harassed, often leading to low performance at work and in school. The researchers believe that harassment will eventually lead to lower grades, absenteeism, tardiness, and will affect their attitude towards future employment.
“We suspect that adolescents may be targeted more frequently than adults given their low status and power in the workplace. They may also be less comfortable reporting the harassing behavior or they may be unsure about the reporting procedures in their company,” said lead researcher Kimberly Schneider.
Schneider says that older employees yield more power in the workplace so teens are more likely to ignore the harassment and allow the behavior to persist.
“Given the power differential that often exists in the relationship between the adolescent employee and his/her harasser, adolescents may be reticent to complain,” Schneider explained.