Almost too weird to be true, it seems that prank callers pretending to be police officers have actually convinced fast-food restaurant managers to strip-search their employees... and worse.

The caller managed to convince a 16-year-old female manager to strip-search a 21-year-old male cook in the women's restroom at the Sonic and to perform an oral sex act on the cook under the threat of arrest if she did not cooperate. The caller then persuaded the cook to conduct a strip search of the manager. ...

Stewart was arrested in July on a warrant related to a similar hoax perpetrated on employees of a McDonald's restaurant in Mount Washington, Ky. ...

In the Kentucky case, Stewart is accused of getting a female manager and her boyfriend to strip-search a female employee, and then soliciting the boyfriend to perform sexual acts on her. The boyfriend, Walter Nix, 43, has been charged with sodomy and assault, and is awaiting trial set for March 10.

The victim in the Mount Washington case filed a lawsuit against McDonald's in August, alleging that the corporation failed to notify employees in advance of a telephone scam that was widely known to be plaguing the fast-food industry.

Apparently it isn't uncommon for police to phone-in strip search requests to businesses.

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - A supervisor at a supermarket was arrested after an employee said her boss strip-searched her, claiming to be following orders from a police officer on the phone. ...

James Marvin Pate, 36, an assistant manager at a Winn-Dixie store, was arrested Saturday on charges of false imprisonment and lewd and lascivious behavior. He was released on $10,000 bail.

The woman told investigators Pate called her into his office Friday and told her she would go to jail for theft if she didn't remove her clothing and submit to a search ordered by the caller.

Police said he handed the phone over to the woman, who then undressed. Pate took her clothing, forced her to pose in different positions and refused to give her clothing back for an extended time, according to an arrest report.

At at another restaurant:

Two employees at a Bismarck restaurant took off their clothes in May when a prank caller, who claimed he was the district manager, ordered them to comply with a strip search. In 2000, three Bismarck fast-food restaurants received similar calls and two employees stripped down to their underwear as a result.

Deputy Police Chief Dennis Bullinger denies the policy:

According to Bullinger, the police department doesn't conduct strip searches over the phone under any circumstance.

According to him, if you believe it.

And yet again, strip searches at Wendy's.

BOSTON -- Investigators say someone posing as the police called several local fast food restaurants telling managers they must strip search their employees -- and they did.

NewsCenter 5's Jim Boyd reported that four Wendy's fast food restaurant supervisors were told Saturday that their employees were stealing from customers, and to conduct immediate strip searches.

"The person on the other end identified themselves as a detective from Whitman and said one of the employees was a wanted suspect and asked them to do a strip search," said Whitman Deputy Police Chief Raymond Nelson. "Evidently, they were strip searched."

The incidents happened in Whitman and West Bridgewater.

It's tempting to just throw up your hands and let people reap the consequences for their own stupidity. Paul -V- at Brainshrub thinks these people are even stupider than I do, but says they wouldn't take off their clothes so readily if they had free health care.

Box-store corporations have created an underclass within our culture. An underclass might be good for corporate profits, but it breeds long-term social instability. Ask the French if you disagree. Ogborn is currently suing McDonalds, but how many smaller indignities to working-class people have to deal with every day that don't get as much media attention?

Americans must support policies that empower workers to stand up for their rights. Policies such as universal health-care and living-wage laws prevent workers from being so dependent upon their employers, that they are willing to surrender their dignity.

These programs might make the cost of a cheeseburger go up by a nickel, but in exchange you will have the security of knowing that when your employer asks you to do something you find objectionable, you will not have to make a choice between doing the right thing or giving up your child's healthcare.

The strippers didn't have to make such a choice, however, because existing law protects them from these kinds of bizarre requests. In Paul -V-'s ideal world, would these employees have quit their jobs in response to the prank calls? That doesn't seem much smarter.

(HT: Vegan Porn.)

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