Ten McDonald’s employees across nine cities have formally accused the fast food giant of ignoring instances of sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace, a prominent labor group said on Tuesday.
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In complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the women say they faced inappropriate conduct including vulgar comments and groping from McDonald’s supervisors. When the women brought the conduct to the attention of management, they claim they were ignored or faced retaliation.
The women are backed by the Fight For $15, an activist group known for pressing McDonald’s to increase pay and improve working conditions for its employees. The group said that the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, formed in response to the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct in the workplace, is providing financial and legal assistance to the women.
“By funding the legal representation in these cases, we hope to help ensure that these charges will be a catalyst for significant change,” said Sharyn Tejani, director of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. “Few women working in low-wage jobs have the means or the financial security to challenge sexual harassment.
Allegations of harassment were filed in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and New Orleans, among other cities. The EEOC’s review of the complaints is still pending.
McDonald’s said in a statement that it takes allegations of harassment in the workplace “very seriously,” adding that it was “confident” that its 14,000 U.S. store locations – 90% of which operate as independent franchises – would respond in kind.
“At McDonald’s Corporation, we are and have been committed to a culture that fosters the respectful treatment of everyone,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “There is no place for harassment and discrimination of any kind in our workplace.”
McDonald’s is scheduled to hold its annual company meeting on Thursday.