Employees at McDonald’s restaurants in Texas and throughout the world might face higher incidents of sexual harassment than employees of other fast-food outlets. According to an international labor coalition that has filed a complaint against the company, harassment and violence based on gender is embedded in the company culture.
The complaint was not filed in the country where the company is headquartered, the United States, but in the Netherlands at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The reason for this, according to the complaint, is that there are issues with sexual harassment in the top corporate ranks in the U.S., and this could affect the receipt of the complaint. An additional challenge, according to the unions, is that 90% of McDonald’s restaurants are franchised, and the company says it is not responsible for behavior at those locations.
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The aim is to get the company to work on a plan to fight sexual harassment at its locations around the world. McDonald’s cannot be forced to take any action as a result of the complaint, but one international labor law specialist said it can be useful in pushing companies toward negotiations. Among the allegations are groping, attempted rape and indecent exposure. A class action lawsuit alleging systemic sexual harassment has also been filed against the company in Florida representing thousands of women from hundreds of outlets.
Employees are supposed to be protected against sexual harassment in the workplace. Individuals who are experiencing sexual harassment at work might want to consult an attorney about their rights and what to do. Many companies have policies and procedures for dealing with sexual harassment that must be followed, but those policies are not always effective. If the company does not respond appropriately to a complaint of workplace harassment, filing a lawsuit may be necessary.