Workers file sexual harassment complaints against McDonald’s

NEW YORK — Energized by the #MeToo movement, two national advocacy groups are teaming up to lodge sexual harassment complaints against McDonald’s on behalf of 10 women who have worked at the fast food restaurant in nine cities.

The workers — one of them a 15-year-old from St. Louis — alleged groping, propositions for sex, indecent exposure and lewd comments by supervisors. According to their complaints, when the women reported the harassment, they were ignored or mocked, and in some cases suffered retaliation.

The legal effort was organized by Fight for $15, which campaigns to raise pay for low-wage workers. The legal costs are being covered by the TIMES UP Legal Defense Fund, which was launched in January by the National Women’s Law Center to provide attorneys for women who cannot afford to bring cases on their own.

The complaints, filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, are being announced on Tuesday, two days ahead of the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Responding to the claims, McDonald’s spokeswoman Terri Hickey said there is “no place for harassment and discrimination of any kind” in the 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,” Hickey said by email.

Fight for $15 said the restaurants named in the complaints are run by franchisees, not directly by McDonald’s. But the complaints name both McDonald’s Corp. and the franchisee — part of Fight for $15’s effort to hold the company responsible for wage and employment issues at franchised locations. The company claims its franchisees are independent business owners, and that stance has complicated efforts to unionize workers across the entire McDonald’s chain.

When similar sexual harassment charges were lodged by Fight for $15 workers two years ago, McDonald’s promised a review of those allegations. However, Hickey — in her new response — declined to say whether that review led to any changes of policies and practices aimed at curtailing such harassment.

Among the new complainants is Tanya Harrell, 22, of New Orleans, who alleges that her two managers teased her, but otherwise took no action after she told them of sustained verbal and physical harassment by a co-worker.

Harrell, who makes $8.15 an hour, says going public with her complaint may be emotionally taxing, but she is proud of her decision.

“I feel like I have a voice now,” she said in a telephone interview. “It gives me a bit of motivation and a bit of courage.”

In addition to New Orleans and St. Louis, charges were filed by workers in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami; Orlando, Florida; Durham, North Carolina, and Kansas City, Missouri.

The new allegations come almost two years after 15 McDonald’s workers in Fight for $15 filed a series of sexual harassment complaints against the company. Attorneys for the workers plan to ask the EEOC to consolidate or coordinate the newly filed charges, as well as some of the 2016 charges that remain pending.

What is different this time, organizers say, is that all of the women bringing charges are represented by attorneys due to the defense fund’s support. More broadly, the #MeToo movement that exploded last October has emboldened more women to speak out and has prompted some employers to alter their approach to harassment, said National Women’s Law Center CEO Fatima Goss Graves.

“Most companies have a policy saying no sexual harassment, but how do you make that work?” she asked. “Right now, because of the huge power disparities, it’s easy to just wait out the complaints and nothing really changes.”

Eve Cervantez, a lawyer with the San Francisco-based public interest law firm Altshuler Berzon, is working on the new complaints. She says they represent an effort to extend the power of #MeToo to low-wage women whose predicaments have not drawn as much attention as harassment victims in Hollywood, the media and other sectors.

The women filing charges “want McDonald’s to take sexual harassment seriously and enforce its already existing zero tolerance policy,” Cervantez said. “We think McDonald’s can use its power and influence to guarantee a safer workplace for all its employees’”

Fight for $15 is calling on the company to hold mandatory trainings about sexual harassment for managers and employees and to create a safe, effective system for receiving and responding to complaints. As part of the initiative, Fight for $15 said it is establishing a hotline that workers can use to have their complaints reviewed by attorneys.

Activists say sexual harassment is pervasive in the fast food industry. They cite a 2016 survey by Hart Research Associates — conducted for three advocacy groups — which calculated that 40 percent of female fast food workers experience unwanted sexual behavior on the job.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20 (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like