HR Grapevine - Is this McDonald's Me Too moment?

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Sexual harassment - Is this McDonald's Me Too moment?

The Me Too campaign, which rose to prominence via the support of celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lawrence, has aided workers in feeling empowered enough to stand up against harassment in the workplace and demand that changes are made.

The movement gained online traction as a hashtag in 2017 to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of harassment and sexual harassment, particularly in the workplace.

The latest company to come under fire for such actions is global fast food chain McDonald’s, against whom 25 cases of sexual harassment have been filed – reported.

The cases, all of which are being managed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, include groping, indecent exposure, propositions for sex and a multitude of lewd comments – behaviour that reportedly took place at corporate and franchise locations across 20 cities in the US.

"McDonald's refuses to take responsibility for harassment experienced by employees in its restaurants," added Gillian Thomas, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU Women's Rights Project. "With this new round of filings, we are seeking relief for them while calling on shareholders to call the company's management to account."

Another case arose in 2016, when 16-year-old employee Brittany Hoyos of McDonald’s Tucson location was subjected to repeated harassment, inappropriate messages and unwarranted advances by her manager. After she made a complaint, she was subjected to retaliation within the workplace, including a demotion from her position as a crew trainer. Ms Hoyos told the New York Times that the interactions became so bad, that she was forced to leave the job.

Whilst specific branches have refused to comment on the numerous allegations, CEO Steve Easterbrook addressed the harassment allegations in a letter sent on Monday to Senator Tammy Duckworth. Easterbrook said McDonald's is "committed to creating and sustaining a culture of trust where employees feel safe, valued and respected."

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