Two advocacy groups have lodged sexual harassment complaints against McDonald’s on behalf of 10 employees who have said they were harassed on the job.
The 10 women work in McDonald’s franchises, which the company says are independent businesses. According to the Associated Press, the women claim they were groped, propositioned, and subject to indecent exposure and inappropriate comments by supervisors. They have said they reported their harassment but were ignored or, sometimes, retaliated against.
“McDonald’s Corporation takes allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and are confident our independent franchisees who own and operate approximately 90 percent of our 14,000 U.S. restaurants will do the same,” a McDonald’s spokeswoman said in a statement to the AP.
The Fight for $15 advocacy group organized the complaints, and the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, created by the National Women’s Law Center to financially support these kinds of legal complaints in the #MeToo era, is covering the cost. If the company is considered responsible for its franchises, it might become easier for its employees to unionize.
Fight for $15 filed similar complaints roughly two years ago to try to hold McDonald’s responsible for employee mistreatment at its franchises. McDonald’s has not said if it changed any policies or practices addressing harassment in response to the complaint.
The Fight for $15 organizers told the AP that Tuesday’s complaint, filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, will have more teeth two years after their first attempt because there will be lawyers representing each woman.
The advocacy group is calling on McDonald’s to hold trainings about sexual harassment and establish a hotline to have workers’ complaints reviewed by attorneys.