Randolph McDonald’s franchisee to pay $1.6M for sexual harassment of workers

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 1:29 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - The owners of a Randolph McDonald’s restaurant will pay $1.6 million under a sexual harassment settlement, one of the largest employment discrimination cases in state history.

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office says the joint state/federal case targetted Coughlin, Inc. the owner of the Randolph restaurant. It began in March 2001 when the feds sued for failing to protect numerous young workers from a manager over a period of years. Officials say the harassment included “hitting, grabbing, and attempting to grab employees’ breasts, buttocks, and genitals, as well as making offensive and degrading sexual comments.”

The AG’s office joined the case in 2007 after Coughlin failed to address similar harassment of employees at a different McDonald’s restaurant they owned.

Under the terms of a five-year consent decree, Coughlin will establish a settlement fund of $1.2 million for compensation to victims at its Randolph restaurant, pay $125,000 in civil penalties to the state, and $275,000 in damages to the estate of Jennie Lumbra, one of the victims who joined the lawsuit and who later died. Coughlin will also be required to revise its sexual harassment policies, establish a hotline for employees, provide sexual harassment training to all employees and managers, and be subject to compliance review by an independent monitor.

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