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McDonalds Get Hit on Two Fronts in One Week

On May 21, 2019, twenty-five women in 20 cities filed sexual harassment complaints against McDonald's with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or in court. On May 23, 2019, hundreds of cashiers and cooks across the country staged a strike to demand union rights, increased hourly pay and to protest sexual harassment. The walkout was timed to coincide with McDonalds’ shareholder meeting that day.
While most of the charges filed with the EEOC were new, some of the claims were initiated last year. These claims allege that McDonald's has failed to take action to keep women safe in its franchises and company-owned restaurants. More than 50 charges have been filed against McDonald's over the last three years. The ACLU and Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund are backing the recent charges filed by the women. These organizations are pushing for McDonald’s franchises to face serious repercussions if managers violate sexual harassment policies. The women allege that they have been groped, faced demands for sex, been assaulted, and had male employees expose themselves on the job. Reports of bad behavior are allegedly ignored and/or they are retaliated against. Workers from Chicago also accuse the company of failing to protect them from workplace violence.
McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook has stated that the organization began work with RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization, to improve the McDonald’s workplace and update its harassment policy. Easterbrook stated that the new policy lets employees clearly know their rights, provides clarification on sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation and outlines how to report a complaint. A new hotline run by a third party is said to be available next month and more training is occurring for managers and employees. Protesters have indicated that they do not believe these measures are enough. Meanwhile, McDonald's has been arguing in court that the company should not be held liable for acts that occur in independently owned McDonalds restaurants. McDonald's has said it will no longer lobby against increases to the minimum wage at the state and federal levels but has not agreed as of yet to raise wages.