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Wendy's job test sparks complaint

A woman has accused a Wendy's franchise owner of sexual harassment, charging an employment test asked about her "top secret sex fantasies."

Jacqueline Lopez filed the complaint Wednesday with the Pensacola-Escambia County Human Relations Commission against Wendco Corp., owner of 12 Wendy's restaurants in the Florida Panhandle.

"This test offended me. It was outrageous," the Pensacola woman said. "I want it stopped now. I want to make sure no one else is ever humiliated this way during a job interview."

Wendco owner Roger Webb said the computer test was "just a game" and not meant to offend. He said he didn't realize that the test included the sexual fantasy question and that it no longer would be administered to job applicants at his restaurants in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties.

Lopez said Wendco controller Charles Coder tried to goad her into sharing her sexual fantasies by saying, "Well, the girl before you secretly wanted to be in a nudist camp."

Coder was not available for comment, but Webb denied the accusation.

The test is a lifestyle computer game for adults that was given to job applicants during their third interview.

"It was given in a lighthearted way to let them talk about themselves," Webb said. He said company officials didn't even look at the answers.

The complaint will be forwarded to the Florida Commission on Human Relations and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

If the state panel determines there is a basis for the complaint, Lopez could file suit or ask for an administrative hearing on whether Wendco violated Florida's Civil Rights Act. She could get damages and penalties up to $100,000.

"This case stands out because both the owner and the controller knew what they were using as a personality test is a game for entertainment purposes only and definitely not appropriate for job interviews," said Randi Broughton, a specialist with the commission.

Lopez withdrew her application for a job as an administrative assistant. She said she decided to file a complaint after someone at Wendy's corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, said the company could only talk to Wendco officials about the test.

"We are not allowed to dictate to them certain practices," Wendy's International Inc. vice president Denny Lynch said Thursday.

He said Webb did what the company would have advised by dropping the test when he discovered it was offensive.