McDonald's workers make sexual harassment complaints

Image source, Getty Images

Ten workers at McDonald's fast food franchises in the US have filed complaints of sexual harassment against the firm.

The female workers, one of whom is 15 years old, allege groping, propositions, indecent exposure and lewd comments.

McDonald's said it takes such allegations "very seriously" and that its franchises should do the same.

Similar harassment claims were lodged against McDonald's two years ago.

The latest complaints, which were filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, were brought on behalf of the workers by the campaign group The Fight for $15.

It says that the workers - based in cities such as Miami, Los Angeles and Detroit - were ignored or mocked when they reported instances of sexual harassment to their managers.

Some also claimed to have met with retaliation, including being sacked, The Fight for $15 said.

'Supervisors did nothing'

In one example, Breauna Morrow, a 15-year-old cashier in St Louis, said that she had been "repeatedly harassed" by a co-worker using "graphic, sexual language".

However, when she reported the incident her "supervisors did nothing".

"I know I'm not the only one and that's why I'm speaking out, so others don't have to face the harassment I've gone through," Ms Morrow said.

In another incident, an employee said she had reported that a co-worker at a New Orleans outlet had groped her.

Image caption,
McDonald's has also faced pressure over the wages it pays workers

However, instead of taking action, her managers mocked her and told her "she was probably giving the worker 'sex appeal'".

The complaints name both McDonald's franchisees and the company itself. However the company views its franchisees as independent business owners.

A McDonald's spokeswoman said: "There is no place for harassment and discrimination of any kind in our workplace.

"McDonald's Corporation takes allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and are confident our independent franchisees who own and operate approximately 90% of our 14,000 US restaurants will do the same."

Claims hotline

In 2016, McDonald's promised a review after similar allegations of harassment were brought.

However, a spokesperson for the firm declined to say whether that review led to any changes of policies aimed at tackling such harassment, according to the AP News agency,

The Fight for $15, which has long urged McDonald's to set a $15 minimum wage, says it now plans to "challenge widespread sexual harassment" against McDonald's workers across the US.

The group has set up a hotline and encouraged other workers to contact them to have their complaints reviewed by lawyers.

It is receiving support from the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, which was set up to help victims of sexual abuse in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.