McDonald's ordering anti-harassment training at locations around the world
© Getty

McDonald's will require 2 million workers at tens of thousands of stores worldwide to undergo training aimed at reducing violence, discrimination and harassment in its stores, the company's CEO says.

In an interview published by The Associated Press on Wednesday, CEO Chris Kempczinski said that the company needed to "constantly" reinforce values of providing a "safe and respectful" workplace to ensure that all team members knew the standards.

“It’s really important that we be very clear: a safe and respectful workplace where people feel like they’re going to be protected is critically important for our business,” he told the AP, adding: “It’s just what society is expecting.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“If you’re not constantly talking about values and keeping them in the fore, if you get complacent, then perhaps they’re not as obvious to people or they’re not as inspiring as they could be,” Kempczinski continued.

The new training will be required in both company-operated stores as well as franchises, individually owned restaurants that the AP reported makes up about 93 percent of McDonald's stores around the world.

The company's announcement comes in response to accusations of widespread sexual harassment at McDonald's restaurants that led to workers protesting in 10 cities across the U.S. in 2018 and a lawsuit alleging that the company perpetuated "severe or pervasive sexual harassment and a hostile work environment" at its Florida locations. The previous CEO, Steve Easterbrook, was also fired in late 2019 after admitting to a relationship with an employee.

McDonald's is under pressure in the U.S. as well from the union-led Fight for $15 movement, which seeks pay hikes for minimum wage workers and saw McDonald's workers join its fast food workers strike in January.