McDonald’s Corporation, franchise owners Lawrence and Eileen Kushner, and restaurant manager Alfonso Rojas have been sued by four women employees in Cook County Court for alleged assault and battery, false imprisonment, emotional distress, retaliation, constructive discharge, negligence, and negligent supervision.
According to the lawsuit, their manager, Rojas, routinely sexually assaulted them and would not let them take bathroom breaks unless they agreed to have sex with him. Rojas, the manager of a McDonald’s in Palatine, Illinois, repeatedly locked them, according to their complaint, in the back room of the restaurant where he made his sexual demands and advances on them. In fact, they claimed, one of them urinated on her pants on at least two occasions because she was prevented from using the bathroom.
Adriana Cazares, Alma Perez, Elvira Rodriguez, and Yazmin Rodriguez, the plaintiffs in the case, are seeking punitive damages for assault and battery, false imprisonment, emotional distress, retaliation, constructive discharge, negligence, and negligent supervision.
In a section of the 32-page complaint which pertains to what Adriana Cazares’ had experienced with Rojas, it reads in part: “In April 2011, Rojas isolated Adriana in office; he would then fondled [sic] her breast and put his hand down her pants and performed digital penetration. …Adriana’s minor son witnesses the abusive behavior of Rojas toward women at the restaurant and he questioned if his mother is subject to the same abuse. Between August 2011 and November 2011, Rojas repeatedly locked Adriana in the office and a second supervisor Sandra was aware of the abuse the Rojas was responsible for in the workplace….Rojas exposed his erect penis and pushed Adriana’s head down to his erect penis and forced his erect penis in her mouth to perform oral intercourse. The oral intercourse would continue until he pulled his penis out of her mouth and ejaculated into his hand or tissue paper. Adriana was not allowed to go on breaks and she was forced to urinate in her pants on at least two (2) occasions.”
In another section, regarding with what was done to Elvira Rodriguez, it reads in part: “On May 30, 2012, Rojas ordered Elvira to the office space where he exposed his erect penis and demanded oral intercourse. Sandra, a second swing shift manager, witnessed the encounter and her response was to shut the door for Rojas to have privacy. After refusing his demand for oral intercourse, on a regular basis while on duty, Rojas has prevented Elvira from using the bathroom or from having a water break for over five (5) hours at a time.”
The second shift supervisor referred to only as ‘Sandra’ was not included as defendant in the complaint.
With respect to franchise owners Lawrence and Eileen Kushner, however, the four complainants in their lawsuit said, “Eileen and Lawrence [Kushner] knew that if the systematic sexual abuse that was perpetuated by Rojas was exposed they would encounter a scandal and could be legally liable for the acts and misconduct of Rojas. Eileen and Lawrence allowed a sexually charged work environment where workers are aware of the sexually deviant behavior of Rojas, but they chose to ignore the complaints of the women. At all relevant times, Eileen and Lawrence did not have policies, practices or procedures in place that would have allowed the women to come forward to report the abuse without retaliation; such negligence ultimately allowed the abuse to escalate in the workplace to multiple employees.”