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New Jersey food worker claims sexual harassment, wage violations

Every person who accepts a job and works the agreed-upon hours deserves to be paid, as well as to expect a working environment free from sexual harassment. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. In New Jersey, a fast food chain with three locations is being accused of fostering an atmosphere that allegedly led to one employee experiencing repeated sexual harassment incidents, in addition to wage violations.

The woman at the center of this case was employed at the fast food restaurant chain for portions of 2012 and 2013. Her claim purports that, during her time as a prep cook, she repeatedly worked overtime but was not paid appropriately. Because she was not in a management position, this type of withholding of time-and-a-half is contrary to applicable law. The plaintiff also asserts that, when she did work 40-plus hours, she received the extra hours' pay in cash. This made it difficult to prove how many hours she specifically worked.

Aside from the wage issues, she further claims that male employees at the restaurant made advances of a sexual nature toward her. In one instance, she reports that a coworker assaulted her by placing a hot utensil on her arm after she made it clear she was uninterested in pursuing a sexual relationship with him. Her lawsuit claims that this caused her emotional and physical suffering.

No form of sexual harassment or wage theft should ever be tolerated by New Jersey workers or by the public. This is the reason there are legal measures in place to hold companies that take unfair advantage of their personnel responsible. If this woman were to win her case, she could be awarded a judgment for financial damages and other relief as provided by state and federal laws.

Source: nj.com, "Cheeburger protested by activists, Princeton University students over alleged wage theft", Nicole Mulvaney, May 22, 2014

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