State human rights dept. files court-supervised agreement with local McDonald’s franchisee
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) is continuing legal measures to improve what it calls “a culture of sexual harassment” at 14 McDonald’s franchises owned by Hyder Investments, Inc.
Wednesday, MDHR announced the department filed a consent decree in Minnesota’s Fourth District Court that, if approved, would require Hyder Investments, Inc. to make “sweeping changes” to its training and reporting processes related to sexual harassment and assault.
“Sexual harassment in the fast-food industry has long been a reality and this consent decree serves up much needed reform,” said MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero.
The filing is the next development in a saga that began at a Hyder-owned location in Maple Grove. A then-24-year-old manager was convicted of sexually assaulting a then-14-year-old employee in 2018, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
In the years after, MDHR began taking legal action due to problems the department observed within the 14 locations: “For example, the McDonald’s franchisee’s policies were ineffective and not provided to employees. The policy said that someone could call and report sexual harassment but provided a non-existent telephone number, XXX-XXX-XXXX, made up solely of the letter ‘X’ instead of an actual phone number. Additionally, employees in positions of authority failed to act. Supervisors knew about the inappropriate relationship and did nothing.”
If approved, some of the responsibilities the consent decree requires the franchisee to fulfill moving forward include the creation of effective and accessible policies, the creation of effective harassment and abuse reporting systems, the regular completion of employee trainings, and the undertaking of measures to track and transparently report progress.
“Once approved by the court, MDHR will assess the franchisee’s compliance and, if necessary, report any violations of the agreement to the court,” MDHR said.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has reached out to Hyder Investments, Inc. for a statement or comment and is awaiting a response.
If you or someone you know is in need of resources related to sexual violence, help is available at the websites for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), Workplaces Respond, the DoD Safe Helpline for military members, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.