New charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) allege widespread sexual harassment problems at the McDonald’s fast food chain. Ten women from eight different cities in seven states allege that they have been groped, harassed, and sexually assaulted at work.
All the women who reported the incidents to a manager claim they were brushed off. Some said they experienced retaliation, and a few lost their jobs.
Holding the Corporation Accountable
The claims filed name the McDonald’s corporation, as well as franchise owners. Representatives of the workers have expressed that they want McDonald’s to be a part of the solution by stepping forward to carry out its own investigation.
The women are asking the multi-billion-dollar company to introduce and enforce a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment, make training mandatory for all managers and staff, and develop a reporting process for victims of harassment that is clear and safe.
The fast food industry has a rampant sexual harassment problem. A 2016 survey, by Hart Research Associates, found that 40 percent of women in non-managerial positions reported experiencing unwanted sexual remarks and touching at work. That same year, McDonald’s was the subject of 15 sexual harassment complaints by 13 women and two men. Workers argue that both the McDonald’s franchises and the corporation itself should have done more to protect workers from harassment and retaliation.
Risk Factors for Harassment
Many risk factors for harassment are prevalent in the fast food industry. The work force is young and may be easily intimidated and unaware of their rights. Supervisors and managers have complete power over scheduling, and thus the earning abilities of the workers they supervise. They, too, may be young, inexperienced, and unsure of their managerial responsibilities, or where to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable work place behavior.
The industry demands fast-paced work in close quarters and may not have clear HR protocols for reporting abuse. Further, workers in low-wage jobs are often at a socioeconomic disadvantage and cannot afford to lose their jobs, making them easy targets, as some may be afraid to report harassment in the workplace for fear of retaliation.
The EEOC has been busy attacking the problem of harassment in the fast food industry. Three sexual harassment suits against fast food companies have been launched in the last six months, and two others have reached a settlement with the EEOC for tens of thousands of dollars.
The Power to Change an Industry
As one of the country’s biggest employers, McDonald’s has the capacity to make real change. The company has an opportunity to set an example of proactive leadership and zero tolerance that could spur progress not only within its own restaurants, but throughout corporate America.
Atlantic City Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Levine Staller Represent Victims of Sexual Harassment
If you have experienced sexual harassment at your place of work, you may be entitled to compensation. Talk to the dedicated Atlantic City sexual harassment lawyers at Levine, Staller, Sklar, Chan & Brown, P.A. about your legal options. Call 609-348-1300 today or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Atlantic City office. We proudly represent clients across the state of New Jersey, including those in Atlantic County, Ocean County, and Cape May County.