Fast-food chain manager sexually harassed Sheffield teenager – and then he got promoted

Jessica* was only 17 when she first got her job at a popular fast food chain in Sheffield to make some pocket money while studying.

By Rahmah Ghazali
Monday, 17th May 2021, 11:33 am

But it didn't take her long enough to be sexually harassed by her own manager - someone whose job is to protect their subordinates and take care of their welfare.

Recounting her experience, the 20-year-old law student said her manager, who was almost a decade older than her, lied about his age and would ask her some "personal and invasive" questions whilst at work.

She said: "He would ask me some sexual questions about my boyfriend and what we do and stuff.

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Launch of the Know The Line campaign in the Paece Gardens in Sheffield. PC Oliver Wilson and Insp. Ali Bywater. Picture Scott Merrylees

"When my boyfriend and I broke up, he got more intense with me and he'd ask me some questions like, 'How'd you feel if I did this to you'.

"He was a manager, so he would go on a break as the same time as me and just to have me to himself which was weird. He told me he was 22, when he was actually 26."

She said, as she reached 18 and started to go out drinking with her own friends, her manager would turn up uninvited no matter how late he finished work.

"This one time, he finished work at 1am and he would come and find us. He'd always appear somewhere.

"Then, he would pick up extra shifts when I had to work so obviously the higher manager put him up for promotion," she said.

That's when she thought she had enough, and decided to file a complaint against her manager.

"I said I don't feel comfortable and I don't feel like coming to work anymore but I got gaslighted. "The higher manager asked me, 'Are you sure it happened like that? You're a really attractive woman, maybe he is just showing an interest in you. Nothing wrong with what he was doing'," she said.

Jessica said things took turn for the worse when her promoted manager now had more control of her shifts and how much she was making.

After a while of showing no interest in him, she said he would spread lies and rumours about her at work so she would have no friends or people to talk to.

"It was just hell for me. I felt uncomfortable because people would call me slut and were horrible towards me all this was because I didn't show any interest when I was 17," she said.

She said the man now has left the company and currently working in a health sector, which she said, should have been made a major issue.

"There are other girls who said the same thing about this person. I was 17 and I was a child. This man clearly took advantage of me by abusing his position," she said.

With the 'Know the Line' campaign that is currently in place city-wide, Jessica said more still needs to be done to actually put a stop to sexual harassment at work.

"While I think it's got good intention, a lot needs to be done. We can't just say we are standing against this without doing anything," she said.

*Please note name has been changed to protect identity.