McDonald’s in Hot Water for Not Dealing with Workplace Harassment

On Tuesday, eight Democratic U.S. senators, including four presidential contenders, called on McDonald’s in a letter to do more to combat workplace harassment because the number of misconduct reports is “unacceptable.”

Last month, more than 24 embattled and abused McDonald’s workers filed sexual harassment complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and in court. The allegations include groping, indecent exposure, propositions for sex and lewd comments. The incidents are not isolated – they took place at corporate and franchise stores in 20 cities.

McDonald’s workers, especially women, led strikes in 2018 to protest the lack of protection against sexual harassment all over the U.S.

According to Black Enterprise, 70 percent of U.S. McDonald’s employees are either women or minorities.

According to The Washington Post, the senators told McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook in the letter that he should require all McDonald’s franchise stores to update their policies against harassment, abuse, and employee retaliation and they also wanted to know how the company would evaluate workplaces to address harassment complaints and investigate reports of unsafe working conditions.

The letter was signed by Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Tammy Duckworth, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown and presidential candidates Kamala D. Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.

While McDonald’s says it has taken steps to combat workplace harassment, especially sexual harassment, it has been a fairly weak effort. McDonald’s said it has updated its policy to better inform employees of their rights and has provided training to most restaurant owners and general managers, but these policies did not have to be changed for franchisees.

However, franchises make up the vast majority of McDonald’s stores. Of the restaurant’s 14,000 locations in the United States, about 1,000 are corporate-owned, while franchisees operate the rest.

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