McDonald’s workers plan mass walkout over sexual harassment and assault allegations

Employees across at least 10 US cities are staging a one-day strike after a registered sex offender working at a Pittsburgh restaurant allegedly raped a 14-year-old colleague

Rachel Sharp
Monday 25 October 2021 18:46
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<p>McDonald’s employees are going on strike over allegations of sexual harassment</p>

McDonald’s employees are going on strike over allegations of sexual harassment

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McDonald’s workers are planning to stage a mass walkout over sexual harassment and assault allegations at the fast food giant.

Employees across at least 10 US cities including Chicago, Detroit, Houston, and Miami have joined forces to carry out the one-day strike Tuesday.

Fight for $15 and a Union, the group organising the strike, says it is drawing attention to the fast food chain’s failures to protect staff facing harassment in the workplace and respond appropriately to complaints. The group is also calling for workers to unionise.

McDonald’s has been plagued by complaints over its handling of sexual harassment and misconduct allegations for years.

In September, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit alleging that teenage workers across 22 restaurants in Arizona, California and Nevada had been subjected to sexual harassment, including “constant groping”.

In a separate lawsuit, a registered sex offender working at a restaurant in Pittsburgh was accused of raping a 14-year-old colleague.

One worker at a Florida restaurant said little has changed over the years, despite repeated protests from workers.

“I’m going on strike because despite years of protests, McDonald’s still refuses to take responsibility for the countless women and teenagers who face harassment on the job at its stores across the globe,” said Jamelia Fairley in a statement about the walkout, obtained by Vice.

“No matter what McDonald’s says, not much has changed for workers like me.”

Ms Fairley has sued McDonald’s over alleged sexual harassment in the workplace.

McDonald’s new CEO Chris Kempczinski has vowed to clean up the company including announcing in April that two million workers would be sent on anti-harassment training.

Other changes include new staff surveys and channels for employees to report incidents.

In 2018, McDonald’s hit headlines when workers organised the first multi-state strike over sexual harassment allegations.

More than 50 harassment complaints have been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in recent years.

Meanwhile, former CEO Steve Easterbrook was fired in 2019 over a relationship with an employee. The relationship was consensual but the fast food giant said the top boss had exercised “poor judgement” and broken company policy.

The following year, McDonald’s claimed it had uncovered nude photos of women – including three other more junior employees – Easterbrook had sent from his corporate email account to personal email before his ousting.

Workers at the fast food giant have also protested recently to demand a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

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