Worker-Advocacy Groups Back Harassment Claims Against McDonald’s



The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and several other worker-advocacy groups said they are backing 25 sexual-harassment claims against McDonald's corporate and franchise restaurants throughout the country.  

The alleged misconduct "runs the gamut from sexually explicit comments to improper touching," according to the ACLU. The claims include five lawsuits and 20 charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

McDonald's Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook said the company is committed "to ensuring a harassment and bias-free workplace." The fast-food chain is working with RAINN—the largest nonprofit anti-sexual assault organization in the country—to provide "employee-centered education for McDonald's and clear recommendations on how to cultivate a workplace where everyone feels safe, respected and understood," Easterbrook said in a letter.

We've rounded up the latest news on this topic. Here are SHRM Online resources and news articles from other trusted media outlets.

Advocates Create Fund to Support Movement

The ACLU and the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund have provided legal support to many of the workers who filed the claims. The fund was created in the wake of the #MeToo movement to provide legal and public relations assistance to workers who experience sexual misconduct. Worker advocates said the cases against McDonald's represent a small portion of the complaints they receive. The fund—which is administered by the National Women's Law Center in Washington, D.C.—has received nearly 5,000 requests for assistance, and many claims are brought by low-wage earners.

(The New York Times)

McDonald's Updates Harassment Policies

In light of recent allegations, McDonald's officials have said that the company is updating its policies and creating interactive training. "We have enhanced our policy so that it more clearly informs employees of their rights, more clearly defines sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation, and provides examples of what unacceptable behavior looks like," Easterbrook said. The fast-food chain has also set up an anonymous hotline.


#MeToo Has 'Significant Impact' on Harassment Filings

The EEOC received 7,609 sexual harassment charges in 2018—a 13.6 percent increase from fiscal year 2017—and obtained $56.6 million in monetary benefits for victims of sexual harassment. "We cannot look back on last year without noting the significant impact of the #MeToo movement in the number of sexual harassment and retaliation charges filed with the agency," said EEOC acting chair Victoria A. Lipnic.

(SHRM Online)

Workplace Harassment Resources

Allegations of workplace harassment have swept the working world. To help HR with training, policies and many other aspects of responding to inappropriate behaviors in the workplace, the Society for Human Resource Management has created a resource center.

(SHRM Online

Quiz: Is It Sexual Harassment?

Test your knowledge about which behaviors warrant investigation by HR—and possibly the EEOC.

(SHRM Online)


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