A new lawsuit announced Tuesday by The Fight for $15 campaign, with support from the TIME'S UP Legal Defense Fund, alleges that supervisors at McDonald's restaurants in several states were sexually assaulting and harassing workers.
The lawsuit claims that supervisors had harassed workers in the form of groping, propositions for sex and lewd comments, and that reports of the conduct were "too often" ignored.
According to a release, cooks and cashiers of the restaurant have filed 10 charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging an array of illegal conduct in McDonald's restaurants across nine cities.
Those cities include: Detroit, Chicago, Durham, Kansas City (Missouri), Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando and St. Louis
The TIME'S UP Legal Defense Fund provided financial support to investigate and file these charges.
The workers who filed sexual harassment charges allege:
- Supervisors did nothing when a 15-year-old cashier in St. Louis complained of a co-worker who repeatedly harassed her using graphic, sexual language;
- Managers mocked a New Orleans woman who complained about a co-worker groping her, telling her she was probably giving the worker “sex appeal” and that she should take it to the “next level” with him. When a second co-worker attempted to sexually assault her in the restaurant’s bathroom, she did not report it because her first complaint was not taken seriously;
- Managers told a Durham worker they wanted to have sex with her, including one who suggested a threesome with her and a coworker and another who asked to have sex in his car. They made fun of her when she complained about a coworker who regularly propositioned her for sex; and
- A manager asked a Chicago worker if she wanted to see his penis and asked “how many dicks” she could take. He narrated lurid fantasies about what he would do if he got the worker or another crew member in the bathroom alone. She hesitated to complain because the general manager encouraged workers to flirt with customers, but when she did report the harassment, she was fired.
During the news conference announcement of the lawsuit on Tuesday, a former Detroit McDonald's worker claimed she was regularly sexually harassed by her shift manager.
She said that her supervisor repeatedly asked her out, commented on her appearance and demanded that she talk with him. At the press conference, she said that on one occasion, her supervisor threatened to hit her with a frying pan for declining his advances. She alleges that he also drove to her house on one occasion.
She said that when she reported the behavior to the restaurant’s manager, she was told she was "blowing it out of proportion,” and that the harassment didn't end until she quit.
McDonald's responded with this statement:
At McDonald’s Corporation, we are and have been committed to a culture that fosters the respectful treatment of everyone. There is no place for harassment and discrimination of any kind in our workplace.
McDonald’s Corporation takes allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and are confident our independent franchisees who own and operate approximately 90 percent of our 14,000 U.S. restaurants will do the same.
Terri Hickey, a spokesperson for McDonald’s USA