Rapid City man says female Hardee's boss made sex a condition of employment

2014-02-21T05:30:00Z 2014-02-21T22:11:11Z Rapid City man says female Hardee's boss made sex a condition of employmentScott Feldman Journal staff Rapid City Journal
February 21, 2014 5:30 am  • 

A Rapid City man has filed a federal lawsuit against the Hardee’s restaurant chain, alleging he was pressured into a sexual relationship with his female supervisor, who then fired him when he ended it. 

Gerald Anderson of Rapid City filed the lawsuit against the Northland Restaurant Group, operating as Hardee's, claiming that the business violated anti-discrimination laws.

Anderson said he unfairly lost his job at the restaurant in October 2012, according to a complaint filed Feb. 5.

In the lawsuit, which presents only one side of a dispute, Anderson claims he was hired at Hardee's in August 2012 by restaurant manager Danielle Dahlenburg. Anderson claims Dahlenburg subjected him to "unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and sexual touching" during his employment, according to court documents.

The suit does not say which of the two Rapid City Hardee's locations the incidents took place, or if Dahlenburg is still employed by the chain.

Anderson, who first took his claims to state and federal fair employment agencies, says the unwelcome sexual overtures were an expressed or implied condition of his employment, and as such he submitted to her requests, the suit alleges.

"When she hired him, Dahlenburg told plaintiff that if he 'applied' himself and worked with her 'on and off the clock' he could advance to a management position," the suit alleges. "Dahlenburg led plaintiff to believe that his submission to her sexual advances was a condition of his employment and that he would be fired, or otherwise retaliated against, if he did not acquiesce."

Anderson's suit claims that when he ended the relationship in October 2012, he was terminated about one week later. His attorney claims the manager's behavior was illegal under federal and state employment law.

“The primary allegation that we have here is that his employment was conditioned upon his participation in a sexual relationship with his supervisor and that constitutes unlawful employment discrimination,” said Sarah Baron Houy, Anderson's attorney.

Hardee's has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit, Houy said.

Messages left with Northland Restaurant Group seeking comment were not returned. Dahlenburg is not named as a defendant in the suit. She could not be reached for comment and an online phone listing for her was no longer in service. 

In April 2013, Anderson filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the South Dakota Division of Human Rights. In July 2013, the SDDHR issued a determination of probable cause. That finding was backed by the EEOC in November 2013 and he was sent a Notice of Right to Sue.

Anderson is seeking unspecified punitive and compensatory damages for lost wages, benefits, attorney fees and other costs due to "humiliation and embarrassment," according to the suit.

Contact Scott Feldman at 394-8337 or scott.feldman@rapidcityjournal.com

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(30) Comments

  1. Carter M Michaels
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    Carter M Michaels - February 27, 2014 7:11 am
    (did you really just say that)
  2. Revelation
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    Revelation - February 26, 2014 6:43 pm
    Absolutely correct. Most people don't understand that sexual harassment is about power and control and not as much about sex (though that will come into the picture).
  3. Revelation
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    Revelation - February 26, 2014 6:37 pm
    If you read the article, it indicates that two different boards found probable cause for the suit.
  4. B-Rock
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    B-Rock - February 25, 2014 6:39 am
    What if the sexes of the individuals was reversed? Would you still brush it off as a scam?
  5. Posey
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    Posey - February 24, 2014 12:03 pm
    "inept"?-----"-Imbeciles"? Haaa
  6. humpty dumpty
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    humpty dumpty - February 24, 2014 9:16 am
    it isn't always about the sex. it is about the power.
  7. daddyksinger
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    daddyksinger - February 24, 2014 7:39 am
    Since you're so smart and we're all imbeciles, why don't you post the pic for us?
  8. headhunt23
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    headhunt23 - February 24, 2014 6:53 am
    @ Chi Sam - why don't you include a link. The only picture I can find associated with this story is one for Anderson's Attorney.

    But I'm going to guess that is the picture you found.
  9. JackSprat
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    JackSprat - February 23, 2014 9:23 pm
    Seeking damages for embarrassment and back wages? First off, being a grown man working at Hardees is slightly embarrassing in and of itself, and back wages? What does that amount to? $2,000?
  10. Rob61
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    Rob61 - February 23, 2014 1:11 pm
    What is it with kids these days no matter what happens they do this, If I had a female boss that was half way decent looking and she told me to drop trou and service her I would be there. Hey it is free sex. It is like these kids in schools your doing the teacher why would you mess that up??
  11. fictional_man
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    fictional_man - February 23, 2014 11:44 am
    I think everyone wants to know what these people look like. Whatever happened to who,what,when,how,why?
  12. chi sam
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    chi sam - February 23, 2014 11:40 am
    Odd... When I read a story like this I spend five seconds and look it up... But I'm not dumb.
  13. chi sam
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    chi sam - February 23, 2014 11:38 am
    A simple search returned her picture in mere seconds... How inept are some of you people?
  14. Freeland_Dave
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    Freeland_Dave - February 23, 2014 11:31 am
    Sorry for the misspelling of Hardees, they are Carl's Juniors out where I live.
  15. chi sam
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    chi sam - February 23, 2014 11:26 am
    If you have access to the Internet, yet comment in a public forum that you wonder what she looks like - you're inept.

    It took seconds to find her photo, you imbeciles...
  16. appletonrocks
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    appletonrocks - February 23, 2014 8:42 am
    It is virtually impossible to determine the veracity of this claim without pictures of the accused, in both work and after hours attire.
  17. Justin Case
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    Justin Case - February 23, 2014 7:47 am
    @Vorenious
    I think the guy was correct in filling a law suite against a women's only workout center. For the past 40 years women have been B!TC#IN about equal right and crying about men's only clubs. It only seems right that the women get exactly what they demand and that s equal rights including the right to share their workout facilities.
  18. Overlord
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    Overlord - February 23, 2014 7:42 am
    "RYL" Risk Your Life
  19. philaman01
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    philaman01 - February 23, 2014 7:40 am
    Obviously, she wasn't good looking!
  20. BossHoss479
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    BossHoss479 - February 23, 2014 6:58 am
    When I read a story like this I wonder, "well what did the boss look like?"
  21. Brucehateseverything
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    Brucehateseverything - February 23, 2014 6:56 am
    This is EXACTLY why some companies frown on employee relationships. Boy meets girl, they date, they break up, and then the hostilities begin. No news here. He better have corroborated testimony from others or this is a simple his-word-versus-her-word.
  22. IrishPat
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    IrishPat - February 23, 2014 6:35 am
    Photo of the gal in question would be helpful in making a judgement.
  23. Buck
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    Buck - February 23, 2014 6:11 am
    How do I apply?
  24. SarcasticallyMe
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    SarcasticallyMe - February 23, 2014 5:46 am
    Spa lady is a chain of exercise/spas...there are many of them on the east coast.
  25. westburb
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    westburb - February 23, 2014 5:22 am
    ...Vorenious... what does your comment about Spa Lady have to do with this article? And, why does it matter if the male was black or white? Also, Spa Lady is still in business.
  26. eastbeachdude
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    eastbeachdude - February 23, 2014 12:16 am
    'Remember, nothing says good job, like a firm, open-palm slap on the behind!'
  27. GeorgeM
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    GeorgeM - February 22, 2014 11:57 pm
    Unless she's pushing a hundred, built like 55 gallon drum that survived a trip over Niagara Falls. I don't buy it.
    There are vary few women that need to blackmail a guy for sex.
  28. Zac44
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    Zac44 - February 22, 2014 10:07 pm
    He never should have been in a Hardee's in the 1st place.
    Nobody should.

  29. Vorenious
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    Vorenious - February 22, 2014 8:50 pm
    It is more than likely, this is just a scam. I have seen and heard of so many stories now, where men, falsely file charges like this.

    Most men, when a relationship ends, wants away from the women. So why did this guy stick around?

    In DC, there was a company called Spa Lady, that catered to women only for workouts, etc. A black adult male, went to a shop in Clinton Maryland and was told that these spas cater to women, he filed discrimination suits against the company and won, and the business is now extinct.

  30. RedLeg1976
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    RedLeg1976 - February 22, 2014 9:17 am
    I'm sure this will be a fertile ground for comments.
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