Workers at any workplace, from entertainment to fast food, have legal rights against sexual comments and other types of harassment. Two Florida McDonald’s employees, in one case, filed a $500 million class action lawsuit against the fast-food company. The sexual harassment charges underline the problems faced by service industry workers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and across the country.
Two women were the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed this month. They initially filed charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity in May 2019, and they recently received the right to sue letters. In addition to the monetary damages, they seek more effective harassment policies and improved training for upper management.
The lawsuit was on behalf of 5,000 employees who worked at the 100 corporate-operated McDonald’s locations in Florida since 2016. They alleged that the company has a sexual harassment problem that is systemic. The company does not sufficiently follow through on sexual harassment training, provides no training to managers on responding to sexual harassment and does not act against harassers.
One plaintiff also claimed that McDonald’s had a work environment that allowed widespread sexually explicit language and harassment and that her hours were reduced as retaliation for her complaints. She charged that one coworker made sexually explicit jokes and kept touching her even though he asked him to stop. Another worker, according to her charges, made a sexually suggestive remark concerning her daughter but was later fired.
The other plaintiff charged that she was fired after reporting harassment. She claimed that there were instances where a coworker made explicit comments and groped her. Her manager did not address this conduct or verbal abuse from customers, according to her allegations.
Five months earlier, a former employee in Michigan filed a $5 million lawsuit against McDonald’s. She claimed that a supervisor inappropriately touched her and called her offensive names. Also, that manager threatened to terminate her employment after she rejected his advances.
McDonald’s stated that it tries to ensure a workplace that is free from harassment and discrimination. It also said that its policies were strengthened last year, and it started a free intake hotline for workers to report this problem.
An attorney can help harassment victims act quickly and meet reporting requirements. They can help pursue their rights to damages and other relief.