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McDonald's to Roll Out Training to Prevent Harassment, Bullying

A mcdonald's restaurant in a shopping mall.

​Beginning in October, McDonald's will train its restaurant supervisors and crews to defuse potential violence and guard against bullying and harassing behavior and unconscious bias, the company announced Aug. 28.

The training on how to create a safe, respectful environment will combine interactive and computer-based programs and in-person discussions on topics such as bystander intervention, how to safely intercede when difficult situations arise, and how to report complaints of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

The aim, the company said, is to educate and empower the approximately 850,000 people working at its restaurants and build on training it launched in the fall of 2018.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recommended employers use civility and bystander-intervention training to prevent harassment, instead of overly focusing on compliance and legal liability.

"There is a deeply important conversation around safe and respectful workplaces in communities throughout the U.S. and around the world," said Chris Kempczinski, president of McDonald's USA, in the news announcement. "Together with our franchisees, we have a responsibility to take action on this issue and are committed to promoting positive change. These actions are one more step we are taking to raise awareness at all levels of McDonald's that will transfer both inside and outside the workplace."

[SHRM members-only policy: Sexual Harassment Policy and Complaint/Investigation Procedure]

In May, McDonald's was hit with 23 new gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment complaints. Complaints included allegations of inappropriate touching, indecent exposure, lewd comments and requests for sex, as well as retaliation for reporting such conduct. The incidents are alleged to have occurred at corporate and franchise stores in 20 cities, according to NPR. It was the third time in three years that the fast-food franchise faced allegations "of rampant sexual harassment of female employees by male co-workers and managers."

In September 2018, workers engaged in a one-day walkout at restaurants around the U.S. "to send a message to the fast food giant that an atmosphere of sexual harassment will not be tolerated," Forbes reported.

SHRM Online has collected the following articles and resourcs about this topic from its archives and other sources.  

McDonald's to Start New Worker Training Program Following Criticism Over Workplace Safety Issues 

McDonald's will roll out training materials, developed in partnership with sexual violence prevention organization RAINN, for all its U.S. stores in October.

The announcement comes after months of criticism of McDonald's by its restaurant workers, who say they have experienced violence, sexual harassment and other workplace issues at both corporate and franchise locations. In May, workers' rights organizations and the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund said a number of sexual harassment charges and lawsuits had been filed against the fast food chain, and workers hosted a protest in Chicago over the issue.

Workplace-Harassment Prevention Resources 

The fight to end bullying and sexual harassment has changed the work environment. To help HR foster workplace cultures that do not tolerate harassment, the Society for Human Resource Management has created a resource center with news, insights, sample policies, training and more. 
(SHRM Online)   

Beyond Harassment 101: Opening Culture-Change Discussions with Your Team 

Sexual harassment remains a problem in many workplaces despite years of mandatory training for supervisors to prevent it. Getting in front of the problem in the truest sense requires raising accountability and an awareness of inclusion and respect in the workplace. 
(SHRM Online)   

Checklists for Employers 

The EEOC has a number of resources available to employers for creating a safe and respectful workplace. The first step in a prevention program is for an organization's leadership to establish a culture in which harassment is not tolerated. Check the box if the leadership of your organization has taken the following steps. 

Survey: Half of HR Pros' Workplaces Experienced Violence 

New data from the Society for Human Resource Management demonstrates the need for more education, training to prevent workplace violence. 
(SHRM Online)  

Viewpoint: It's Time to Stamp Out Sexual Harassment in Restaurants    

More sexual harassment claims are filed in the restaurant industry than any other. Overall, the figures make for disturbing reading. Reports suggest that up to 90 percent of women and 70 percent of men experience some form of sexual harassment from managers, co-workers, vendors and customers in restaurants. 
(Modern Restaurant Management)


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