Did McDonalds Ignore these Horrifying Sexual Harassment Complaints?
McDonald's is facing a public scandal after it ignored multiple reports of sexual harassment at its franchise locations. The problem is widespread, with 15 separate complaints filed at McDonald's locations in eight different states.
The complaints have taken a wide range of different forms. Some women were continually groped and grabbed while on the job; others faced a work environment with frequent crude jokes and verbal abuses. A few of these women turned to management and found criticism instead of help. For example, one woman’s boss tried to pay her for oral sex, but when she went to management they claimed it only happened because she was flirting.
A number of male employees have also been victims. One man, for example, says that he was frequently bullied for his sexual orientation. Management ignored his claim as well, and his boss responded to the compliant by cutting his wages.
As more stories are coming to light, the McDonald’s corporate organization has been working to deflect the blame onto its franchise partners. It claims that since franchises are independently owned, it is not responsible. A recent decision from the National Labor Relations Board, however, says that under law corporations can now be considered joint employers of franchise workers.
The Fast Food Industry Has a Major Sexual Harassment ProblemMillions of Americans work at fast food companies. McDonald's and its franchises are the second largest employer in the nation. These companies as a whole have a massive problem with improper conduct. 40 percent of all women working in fast food have experienced harassment of some kind. Most never report the crime, out of fear of workplace retaliation.
Workers’ rights groups are now trying to push McDonald's and other businesses to take a more proactive stance towards the problem. They claim that if McDonald's enforced its sexual harassment policy on its franchise partners we would see a massive improvement. Hopefully, as more people have the courage to stand up and fight, things will start to get better. No one should have to go to work with the fear of being harassed.
Dan A. Atkerson is a Dallas employment attorney with a passion for empowering victims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and other forms of workplace injustice.