Fast food behemoth McDonald’s faces three new sexual harassment lawsuits, filed just months after a half-billion dollar lawsuit filed in April 2020 and a year after the filing of a class action lawsuit in November 2019. The most recent lawsuits were filed in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Los Angeles.
According to the lawsuit, the affected workers were mocked by managers or staff after complaining about sexual harassment and suffered retaliation.
Between 1998 and 2014, McDonald’s held the dubious distinction of being one of just 15 U.S. companies sued multiple times by the federal government for sexual harassment.
Difficulty Reporting Sexual Harassment
Delisha Rivers, a single mother of five, claims a Kansas City manager tried to pressure her to perform sexually by offering money and a raise in early 2019. After refusing his advances, she was subject to retaliation at work. Reporting the harassment to McDonald’s was not easy. Her calls were routed through various corporate and field offices, and no one could assist her.
The retaliation she experienced included harsh criticism for minor issues such as wearing the wrong color shirt or not speaking loudly enough to customers. Rivers eventually quit, even though that meant having to leave her children, aged 2 to 9, in the lobby of her job site working a night shift.
In 2018, homeless teenager Barbara Johnson obtained a job at a St. Louis McDonald’s. She alleges she was harassed verbally by a manager and coworker. On what turned out as her final shift, the manager grabbed her breasts. She felt sick and left before the shift was over. Returning to work was impossible for her after the assault.
Spanked by Maintenance Worker
In Los Angeles, Elsy Rodriguez filed a complaint alleging “physical and verbal” harassment at the job she held since 2015. A maintenance worker not only harassed her verbally but refused to leave the bathroom while she was using it. She also claims the worker spanked her “multiple” times.
Rodriguez says she reported the harassment and abuse to two shift managers and the kitchen manager, but nothing was done. The maintenance worker continued his harassment of Rodriguez.
Safe and Respectful Workplace Training
McDonald’s has implemented its “Safe and Respectful Workplace” training in all of its corporate establishments. However, approximately 90 percent of its 14,000 locations in the U.S. are franchises. There is no training mandate for franchisees. While these franchises provide more than $5 billion in revenue for the company annually, McDonald’s claims it is not responsible for the sexual harassment going on in these restaurants as they do not legally employ the workers.
In 2019, the company unveiled a hotline for workers to report harassment anonymously. In a statement, McDonald’s said it did not tolerate such behavior. In September of that year, 115 government officials in 31 states signed a letter to CEO Steve Easterbrook asking McDonald’s to improve worker protections. Two months later, Easterbrook was fired for engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee, a corporate policy violation.
If you are the victim of repeated sexual harassment or an incident of physical or sexual assault, let us know. Our practice is limited to serious incidents of harassment and sexual misconduct. Either we or someone from our network of lawyers will help you stop the problem, protect you from retaliation, and ensure you receive proper compensation.
By stepping forward, you are also helping protect other workers. Rarely is there just one victim.
For more information, visit our sexual harassment FAQ page. Ready to see if you have a case? Contact us online or by phone at 877.858.8018. All inquiries are kept confidential and protected by the attorney – client privilege.