McDonald’s chief executive is vowing to crackdown on sexual harassment at the Golden Arches in the wake of a new report detailing disturbing allegations by female employees.
“Sexual harassment in the workplace is an affront to everything we stand for as a system,” Chris Kempczinski, chief executive of the fast food giant wrote in a message on the company’s website Sunday. “It has no place in any McDonald’s restaurant, and it will not be tolerated.”
Kempczinski, who promised the sexual harassment claims will be investigated, issued the post in response to a CBS report on Sunday that profiled four women who have sued the Chicago-based company over workplace harassement.
“In the case of the sexual harassment allegations detailed in the ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ story,” Kempczinski wrote, “I want to recognize these individuals and acknowledge their courage. Any person who steps forward to report concerns or issues deserves our utmost respect.”
The “CBS Sunday Morning” report included interviews of four women who described inappropriate touching and sexual comments. One women described a co-worker who used tongs to grab her breast in front of other workers.
Despite complaints to supervisors, the workers’ complaints weren’t rectified, the report said.
McDonald’s history with sexual harassment claims is long. In May, 2018, ten women who worked in McDonald’s restaurants across the country filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, reporting a wide range of abuses by their supervisors. And in September 2018, thousands of workers protested these practices in ten cities.
“Women have reported unwanted hugging, back rubs, spanking, and intentional ‘brushing up’ against them,” ACLU attorney Gillian Thomas wrote in a blog post in January 2019. “Some said they were trapped in supply closets and pestered for dates. One woman alleged that a male manager she worked with threatened to expose his genitals to her.”
Many of the alleged victims are 15, 16 and 17 year-olds, according to Thomas.
It’s just the latest allegations to plague the popular fast-food chain, which has also been sued for racial discrimination, including by former Major League Baseball star turned franchisee Herb Washington.
Washington and other black franchisees have alleged that the company deliberately steers them into low income neighborhoods where they make far less in sales than their white counterparts.
The company has denied the allegations.