Female McDonald’s employees across the nation are complaining about sexual harassment in the workplace — and a lack of response from the company’s corporate officials.
Many McDonald’s locations are independently owned franchises, rather than corporate-run stores — and it’s not exactly clear what liability the national corporation has for what has been happening to female workers in those local restaurants. What is clear, however, is that many employees have had enough and are unwilling to stay silent any longer.
At least 25 women in 20 cities around the United States have filed sexual harassment claims against the company through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Some are new cases, while others have been going through the process for some time and will soon be heading into court. Their prevalence indicates that the problem is a lot bigger than many people realized.
The victims include women who say that they have been subjected to attempted rape, groped, propositioned for sex and subject to managers who expose themselves. When they seek help from higher-level managers, the women say they are often demoted, given fewer hours or fired. Others say they were mocked or simply ignored when they complained. Some of the victims are as young as 16.
Twice, women employees working for McDonald’s have gone on strike in multiple cities — once in 2015 and again in 2018. The company is trying to settle some of the lawsuits out of court, but many women say that the overall climate hasn’t changed.
So far, the corporate office has taken the approach that it can’t control what happens in its franchise stores — although it is starting a hotline for complaints and offering harassment training this fall.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment on the job, you don’t have to accept that kind of treatment. Similarly, retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment is also unlawful. Talk to an experienced attorney about your legal options and rights.