At least one New York worker is among the 15 across multiple states who filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging sexual harassment against McDonald’s that included groping, obscene comments and being shown pornographic images. According to research, these 15 workers are not alone among fast food workers in enduring sexual harassment on the job.
Hart Research surveyed 1,217 women in the fast food industry and found that 40 percent reported sexual harassment on the job. Of those who were harassed, more than 40 percent said they could not afford to do anything about it because of fear they would lose their jobs. Another 10 percent said they opted to work fewer hours, 8 percent left the job and 15 percent made changes to their schedule.
The 15 workers who filed complaints are not looking for compensation. Instead, they want to unionize and to push McDonald’s to enforce their anti-harassment policy. Two of the 15 are men who say they faced harassment due to their sexual orientation. While the chain has tried to distance itself from the 90 percent of its stores that are franchises, in 2015, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that some companies may be responsible for franchisees’ actions. Low-paid and immigrant workers may be particularly fearful of enforcing their rights or may not know their rights.
People who face harassment on the job ranging from inappropriate comments to differing treatment due to gender, requests for sexual favors and more may want to consult an attorney who might be able to provide guidance regarding the person’s rights. Addressing the problem through a supervisor in the workplace might be the first step, but if this does not work out, then it may be advisable to meet with an attorney to see what further recourse may be available.