A 19-year-old girl and her mother were awarded $7.65 million on Monday after winning a lawsuit they filed against Chipotle for sexual harassment.
The victim, whose name was withheld, was 16-years-old when she started working at Chipotle in Houston in late 2013. Within weeks, the victim stated that her 26-year-old assistant manager, Gerardo Solis, began to touch her inappropriately. She stated that one manager sexually assaulted her while another manager repeatedly let it happen for four months.
According to CNN, the lawsuit portrays a hostile work environment for women where in which two managers would “have sex, kiss, hug, sexually touch and pursue intimate relationships” with young employees.
The victim’s attorney, Ben Hall, stated that there were over 50 reported instances of sexual intercourse between Solis and the victim that occurred every 3-and-a-half. Hall characterized the restaurant as a “brothel that just served food.”
The jury made up their mind after the first week of hearing the case but wanted to make sure they did everything in their control to make sure the teenager was taken care of for the rest of her life. Chipotle must pay the bill as the company was found liable in addition to the two managers named in this case.
Chipotle released this statement:
“None of our employees were made aware of this relationship which took place outside of work…We learned of it only when the former employee’s parents demanded money and filed a lawsuit, and by that time neither of the employees worked for the company any longer.”
According to Hall, Chipotle wanted to present this as a “relationship,” but the jury was adamant when stating that a 26-year-old cannot have a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old child and that is why it is considered sexual assault.
The victim’s mother claims she notified Solis’ boss, the general manager, about the incidents, but nothing was done.
Solis is believed to have fled to Mexico, potentially to avoid criminal prosecution.
Chipotle has been in the news in recent years for the E. coli outbreaks that began in July 2015 and lasted through January 2016. Also, nearly 10,000 current and former workers are suing Chipotle for unpaid wages.