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Sexual harassment case against fast-food manager in court

Harvey Bennett has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault.
Dickinson County Jail

An alleged incident of sexual harassment is now a criminal case against a Michigan fast-food manager.

Harvey Bennett, the general manager at Wendy's in Iron Mountain, Mich., was accused in April of soliciting an employee for sexual favors in exchange for a job promotion. He was arrested May 17 and pleaded not guilty to assault charges Thursday, May 29.

The complaint alleges that Bennett and a female assistant manager approached a 21-year-old Wendy's crew member at a local bar April 6, and invited her to a hotel room for sex. In exchange, the worker was offered a job as a manager, the complaint said.

“(The female assistant manager) had kept saying to me that night, ‘Oh, if you have my back the way I’ll have yours, depending on how things play out tonight, you can be manager too,'” the woman told ABC 10 News. “At first, I didn't know what she meant by that until after they were touching each other and all that happened. They offered me and kept insisting to go to a hotel--propositioning me for sexual favors to become a manager.”

Bennett pleaded not guilty to one count of assault with battery in the Dickinson County Circuit Court.

Initial report of sexual harassment

The alleged victim reported the incident to police April 7, the day after Bennett allegedly propositioned her. She also claims she was told by Wendy's brass that Bennett had been fired as the result of the investigation. Bennett, however, remained employed while the company looked into the allegations. The victim says she and other employees quit when they discovered Bennett was still there.

Civil suit filed against former employee

Bennett's case became public when a former employee spoke to the alleged victim and other workers about the complaint and shared the allegations online. In response, franchisee Jim May filed a lawsuit to stop the workers from speaking about the incident in the social media and on the former employee's blog.

May claims social media posts about the case were false, caused workers to quit and hurt his business. He is seeking damages of more than $25,000. The posts have since been removed.

As of this report, Bennett remains employed by Wendy's. Attempts to reach him and Jim May have been unsuccessful.

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