October 19, 2016 — A jury has awarded $7.65 million to a teenage girl who says she was sexually harassed by her manager at a Chipotle restaurant in Houston, Texas.
The girl was 16 years old when she started worked at the restaurant in October 2013. Her 26 year-old assistant manager, Gerardo Solis, allegedly began harassing her within weeks of being hired.
Lawyers say he forced her to have unprotected sex more than 50 times during a four-month period, “at the restaurant dumpster, in the restroom, in the office and other places.” They described the store as “almost like a brothel that just served food.”
The victim’s mother says she told the general manager of the store, Osmin Turcios, but he ignored her complaints. When she stopped by and Solis and her daughter missing, he told her not to call police.
Lawyers for Chipotle argued that the girl was “in love” with Solis, liked working at the store, and their relationship was voluntary, according to Law360.
The jury deliberated for only 3.5 hours before finding Chipotle at fault for failing to supervise and train employees. The verdict includes $5.4 million in compensatory damages and $1.1 million in attorneys’ fees.
Chipotle offered its support to the victim, but said even “rigorous policies” to protect employees “cannot prevent private relationships that happen away from the workplace during non-work hours.”
Solis is believed to have fled to Mexico to avoid criminal prosecution, where the family says he is taunting them via social media, according to CNN Money.
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