Harassment suit filed against McD franchisee in N.M.

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit here Monday against a McDonald’s franchise that had been recognized as a leading female-owned business in New Mexico.

The suit, filed in federal court against LPG Enterprises Inc., the Los Lunas, N.M.-based franchisee of about a dozen McDonald’s restaurants, alleged that a male manager sexually harassed and physically assaulted former employee Alejandra Jasso and other female employees. In addition, the suit claims the manager created a hostile work environment at the Albuquerque unit by making a barrage of sexual comments.

The suit seeks back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, and reinstatement for Jasso and a class of female employees. The EEOC claimed Jasso suffered retaliation when she was forced to resign because she opposed the manager’s unwelcome conduct.

LPG is owned by Pearlene and Larry Garcia. Last year, company was listed among the top 25 female-owned companies in the state by New Mexico WOMAN magazine. According to the magazine, LPG grossed more than $20 million in revenue in 2006 and nearly 75 percent of its managers were women.

Aspokesman for LPG declined to discuss the lawsuit, saying it would be “inappropriate to comment or speculate on these allegations."

The Garcias have operated McDonald's restaurants for nearly 25 years.