McDonald's workers allege culture of sexual harassment has gone unchecked for years



In an email to the AP, McDonald's officials wrote, "We have policies, procedures and training in place that are specifically created to prevent sexual harassment at our company and company-owned restaurants, and we firmly believe that our franchisees share this commitment".

The complaints named both McDonald's franchisees and the company itself.

The protest, organized by the Fight for $15 workers' rights group, was planned for the lunch hour in nine other cities as well: Durham, N.C.; Kansas City, Kan.; Los Angeles; Miami; Milwaukee; New Orleans; Orlando, Fla; San Francisco; and St. Louis.

A colleague she occasionally gave lifts to started touching her inappropriately at work, grabbing her breasts and backside and asking her to touch his penis. Further, the company has "engaged experts in the areas of prevention and response including RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), to evolve our policies", noted the chain. Workers on strike are demanding improved procedures for receiving and responding to sexual harassment complaints, as well as required anti-harassment training for managers and employees.

McDonald's workers in 10 cities went on a temporary strike on Tuesday to protest alleged instances of sexual harassment and demand clear action from company executives.

Workers want the fast food giant to form a committee - made up of workers, company management and leaders of national women's groups - to figure out how to address the issue.

Advocates are calling on McDonald's to drop the law firm defending the Weinstein Co. from the roster of those counseling the fast-food chain on its sexual harassment policy. She is one of several workers, mostly female, expected to strike Tuesday. "I felt like I was outside my own body, watching what was happening", she said in a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

After these incidents another co-worker took her into the men's bathroom, pinned her against a wall, exposed himself and tried to have sex with her.

The organization Fight for $15, which formed to fight for fair wages in the restaurant industry, organized the nationwide protest after learning about repeated cases of harassment that female employees experienced over several years, organizers said. By November five other union officials affiliated with the fast-food protest movement had been forced out. Since our founding, we've been committed to a culture that fosters the respectful treatment of everyone. Harrell says she is still dealing with the impact of her experience at McDonald's. For many women, the risks that come with filing a complaint are devastating, but they have been emboldened by the #MeToo Movement.

"Managers feel it's not their problem", she added.

Harrell told The Guardian that she complained to her two store managers, but they didn't take her accusations seriously.

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