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Tucson teen takes on McDonald's; sexual harassment claims

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Posted at 6:07 PM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 21:31:21-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — A national claim with a local tie. The American Civil Liberties Union filed 23 new complaints against McDonald's for sexual harassment and discrimination allegations. One of those cases involves a Tucson teenager and her mother.

Brittany Hoyos, now 19 years old, was 16 when she started her first job at the McDonald's on West Ajo Hwy. The complaint states an adult-male manager made advances towards her through text messages, suggestive comments and touching. When she rejected his advances, the complain states, crew members turned against her, which ultimately led to her firing. Hoyos' mother, Maribel Hoyos, who also worked at the store, experienced retaliation for speaking up for her daughter.

"I felt some kind of anger in the beginning and sadness. Because she wouldn't have been put in that situation if it wasn't for our financial situation," said Maribel Hoyos.

Without a car, Brittany would get rides from her manager, who would drive her home from work. The complaint states it was in this situation when he tried to kiss Brittany and she rejected him. After that, Hoyos' said, the atmosphere at work shifted.

"Because they knew that he would give me rides home after work. So its because of that gesture of kindness, so something must be up," said Hoyos.

Hoyos detailed in the complaint, how the McDonald's staff slowly tried to push her out. Hoyos' mother says, at the time Brittany was fired, she had 35 write ups against her with no factual basis.

"Like in a sense of, 'We want to make you quit, but we're not going to fire you.' Like making the shifts so unbearable where it felt like my only option was to quit," said Brittany Hoyos. And in the end, the complaint states, that McDonald's establishment did end up firing her.

The Hoyos now join more than 20 other cases against McDonald's, with the backing of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund and the ACLU.

"We didn't know it was to this extent till we got there and we started hearing stories from other women and started to know the campaign a little more," said Maribel Hoyos.

A McDonald's spokeswoman said in an email: "McDonald's is sending a clear message that we are committed to creating and sustaining a culture of trust where employees feel safe, valued and respected."