McDonald’s franchisees are being hit with a slew of sexual harassment claims in a suit brought by union-backed group Fight for $15 (the organization behind many minimum wage protests). On Wednesday, the organization announced it had filed complaints on behalf of 15 McDonald's workers in the United States, accusing the chain of ignoring rampant sexual harassment.
In complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), workers accuse both McDonald’s corporate and its franchisees of not doing enough to protect them when they spoke up about the harassment. In some cases, the workers claim, they were retaliated against after making the accusations. Of the 15 complaints, 13 were filed by women and two by men.
According to Fox Business, one instance included a female worker who said a manager "showed her a picture of his genitals and said he wanted to ‘do things’ to her."
Other workers said they were groped while on the clock, even solicited for sex via text message by their supervisors. One worker, who complained about the harassment to her general manager, saw her hours "significantly reduced" after reporting it. According to her complaint, she was eventually forced to quit and find new work. Workers are now planning protests in three dozen cities on Thursday regarding the claims, Business Insider reports.
The Golden Arches has long fought against the notion that it could be responsible for what happens at franchisee-owned stores. But in July, a ruling by a California district judge paved the way for the corporation to be held liable for working conditions and pay.
Terri Hickey, spokesperson for McDonald’s, provided Eater with the following statement when asked about the allegations: "At McDonald’s, we and our independent owner-operators share a deep commitment to the respectful treatment of everyone. There is no place for harassment and discrimination of any kind in McDonald’s restaurants or in any workplace. We take any concerns seriously and are reviewing the allegations."
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