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McDonald’s begins new sexual harassment training program

It seems strange that this long after the #MeToo movement began, large corporations are still scrambling to make adjustments to their company cultures to prevent sexual harassment from happening. Unfortunately, that’s still the case — which implies that misogyny and acceptance of sexual harassment are somehow deeply embedded in corporate America.

Well, at least one company is being responsive to its employees’ complaints — even if it took a while for that response to manifest.

After dozens of employees in various states complained that they’d suffered sexual harassment on the job at McDonald’s, the corporate giant has gained a commitment from franchisees around the nation to begin educational programs for both workers and managers about bullying and harassment on the job.

The company and its franchisees will start their training in October. They will be educating employees about how to report workplace issues like harassment, discrimination and bullying. They will also discuss ways to handle the situation when the harassment is coming from a co-worker or customer rather than a supervisor or manager. In addition, training will help bystanders better understand the role they can play in halting harassment in its tracks.

Eventually, the company may offer the new training in all its locations. Currently, the focus is on 14,000 restaurants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware through a combination of both one-on-one and online training.

In 2016, a study that examined the fast food industry determined that 40% of female workers had experienced sexual harassment — and many felt they had no choice but to endure it because of how much they needed their jobs. McDonald’s has faced criticism — and lawsuits — over the conditions workers have faced.

Keep in mind that sexual harassment and bullying at work is never okay. You have legal options. If your company isn’t being responsive to your complaints, it may be time to explore those options.

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