Dairy Queen sued for allegedly allowing minor employee to be sexually harassed

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 27, 2011, 11:15am

LUFKIN - The guardian of a 17-year-old minor has filed a lawsuit against Dairy Queen, claiming the fast food restaurant allowed the teen to be sexually harassed by a co-worker.

Kathryn McCauley, as guardian and next friend of a minor, filed suit against Food Service Holdings Ltd., doing business as Dairy Queen, on Oct. 17 in the Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division.

The 17 year old was employed by Dairy Queen in Huntington in June 2010, where she was subjected to discrimination on the basis of her sex, including sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting such harassment, the suit claims.

According to court records, the minor was subjected to a hostile work environment by a co-employee and was told the co-worker would be fired after his 30-day probationary period.

However, McCauley claims that when the probationary period was over, the co-worker was not fired. Instead, the minor was not properly placed on the schedule and given very few hours. The teenager was terminated on Oct. 3, 2010, allegedly for failing to show up to work.

The teen maintains that she was informed that she was not scheduled to work on the date in question and she was really terminated for reporting the sexual harassment.

"Defendant allowed its employees to subject their female co-workers/subordinates to a hostile work environment and terminated employees who complained of same," the lawsuit states.

The defendant is accused of violating the minor's civil rights.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for mental anguish, lost wages, fringe benefits, punitive damages, attorney's fees, court costs and interest.

A jury trial is requested.

McCauley is represented by Alex A. Castetter of Stuckey, Garrigan & Castetter in Nacogdoches.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 9:11-00172

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