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Former fast-food workers claim sexual harassment, discrimination

A hostile working environment is not conducive to New York business. It can also be an affront to workers' labor and civil rights. Unfortunately, despite ongoing campaigns to push for equal rights in the workplace and overall progress, some employers and supervisors still fail to grasp the terms "equality" and "respect" in the workplace. Take, for example, the case of two African-American women who are former employees of a fast-food restaurant in Queens. The two recently filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against McDonald's.

According to the lawsuit, the women were subjected to frequent racial slurs by their white McDonald's supervisor. The former employees, 39 and 49, were long-time McDonald's employees who were transferred to the company's Jamaica, Queens, franchise in 2011. They claim their new boss made both racially demeaning and sexually provocative comments on a regular basis. The man's harassment was allegedly not limited to sexual innuendo and racist comments. The plaintiffs claim he touched and groped them whenever he walked pass them in the restaurant's tight spaces. The women complained to the company's human resources department, but saw no remedies.

The former workers saved inappropriate text messages that were sent to them by their boss. They also retained the videos the boss emailed to them that they describe as having racial undertones. The man, who is no longer with the company, denied making racial slurs and claimed the videos were sent in jest. The man is not a defendant in the lawsuit, which primarily accuses McDonald's of not providing the women with protection from the man's harassment.

New York workers who feel their labor and civil rights are being disrespected or violated have the right to take this type legal action. Such worker treatment should never be discounted, and negligent supervisors and business owners should be held liable for such abuse.

Source: The New York Daily News, "Two former employees at a Queens McDonald's say their boss used racial slurs and groped them: suit," John Marzulli, July 11, 2014

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