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Alabama fast-food company sued amid sexual harrassment allegations

Updated April 2, 2018 - 10:12 am

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the owner of an Alabama fast food restaurant over allegations of sexual harassment, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.

The federal lawsuit alleges that a team leader at an Arby’s in Atmore, Alabama, pressured several young female employees to have sex with him, used crass language while commenting on their appearance, and described the sexual acts he wanted to perform on them. The behavior lasted from May to August 2016, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also says he asked one employee multiple times for a hug and kiss, and to be his girlfriend. He also sent messages to female employees, “begging them to come home with him or let him come home with them.” In addition, he attempted to follow them home after work.

The team leader’s conduct is described in the lawsuit as “open and notorious.” The lawsuit notes that his supervisors and managers were aware of the behavior. According to court documents, the employees and others complained about harassment to management, who took no action for several months until the harasser physically injured one of the victims.

A spokesman from Beavers’ Inc., which owns the franchise, said Monday that he could not comment on the ongoing litigation. The company, based in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, owns and operates 51 Arby’s restaurants across the Southeast.

A previous version of this story reported that Arby’s was involved in this lawsuit. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit is against Beavers Inc., and neither Arby’s nor Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. are parties in the lawsuit.

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