On Tuesday, 25 women in 20 cities filed sexual harassment complaints against McDonald’s with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Female McDonald’s employees have filed more than 50 sexual harassment lawsuits in the last three years. In the latest round of complaints, workers as young as 16 are accusing supervisors of serious misconduct, including attempted rape, indecent exposure, groping, and sexual offers. The women said they were ignored, mocked, or punished when they reported it. Some had their hours cut back and others were fired.
“Sexual harassment is not something you should have to endure no matter how desperately you need a job,” said Maribel Hoyos, who recently quit her job at a McDonald’s restaurant in Tucson, Arizona. Hoyos and her teenage daughter, who both worked at the same restaurant, were punished for complaining about a manager who repeatedly groped them and made unwanted sexual advances. “I was passed over for a promotion, my work hours were cut and I was cut out of the managers’ training program. Then we fell behind on our rent.”
The problem (and growing resistance) is not new. Here’s protest footage from last September.
A Violent Workplace for All
In another report filed this week with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, employees at a McDonald’s on the south side of Chicago said their workplace had been the scene of 31 violent incidents over six months during the past year.
The Chicago workers said in their letter that employees placed dozens of 911 calls from the restaurant since November but that its manager urged them to tone down their distress out of concern the eatery might get shut down.
The complaint cited numbers from the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a worker rights group that tallied 721 news accounts of violence at McDonald’s stores over the last three years, with guns involved 72% of the time.
Labor Movement Makes Its Move
McDonald’s employees around the country are planning to strike in 13 cities today. They’re fighting for a $15 minimum wage and union representation for all restaurant employees at the chain.
Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker is scheduled to march in Des Moines, Iowa, Julian Castro in Durham, North Carolina, and Jay Inslee in Chicago, while Bernie Sanders plans to host a video town hall with protesting workers from Dallas.
Organized by a union called Fight for $15, an advocacy union for fast-food workers, the one-day strike unfolded with the goal of instituting stronger protections for workers at the chain’s 14,000 stores across the U.S.
“Today, thousands of workers across the country have stepped out of the shadows and onto the picket lines,” said Chicago community organizer Karla Altmayer.
In related news, McDonald’s holds its annual shareholder meeting today at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport. It’s the first time ever that the meeting has taken place outside of the Chicago area. Longtime franchisee Richard Adams said that moving the annual meetings could make it harder for McDonald’s critics to protest at them.