Respect Equality

McDonald’s employees sue over sexual harassment in Florida restaurants

mcdonalds sexual harrassment florida r fairley
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Iconic fast food chain McDonald’s is under fire for allegedly subjecting its female employees in Florida to “widespread” sexual harassment, according to Reuters.

According to the lawsuit, filed in Chicago, the company perpetuated “severe or pervasive sexual harassment and a hostile work environment, including groping, physical assaults, and sexually-charged verbal comments.”

The plaintiffs include McDonald’s employee Jamelia Fairley and former employee Ashley Reddick, who said they were repeatedly sexually harassed and physically assaulted while working at a McDonald’s in Sanford, Florida, according to AP via The New York Times

Fairley and Reddick are reportedly looking to represent a class of female McDonald’s employees from more than 100 corporate-owned nonfranchise McDonald’s locations. The lawsuit states they are suing for $500 million in damages. 

The lawsuit specifically alleges that management of the Sanford restaurant knew of the harassment, but made no changes. Reddick also says that she was terminated for reporting unwanted sexual commentary and groping by a male coworker.  

At the same location, Fairley says that two male coworkers began harassing her in 2018.

“McDonald’s strategy in Florida appears to be: deny, ignore, and punish anyone who complains too loudly, and at times, move harassers from one restaurant to another restaurant, where they have access to and can further harass more women,” the plaintiffs said.

In a statement released, McDonald’s emphasized that it is committed to ensuring the safety of its employees and preventing sexual harassment. 

The company also added that it provides harassment training and additional resources for employees, such as a robust anti-discrimination policy and a hotline for employees to report issues, according to AP. 

Fairley and Reddick, however, claim that corporate leadership does not do enough to ensure all franchises provide training. Approximately 95 percent of U.S. McDonald’s restaurants are run by franchisees, who are responsible for providing behavioral training. 

“The plaintiffs’ allegations of harassment and retaliation were investigated as soon as they were brought to our attention, and we will likewise investigate the new allegations that they have raised in their complaint,” the statement explained.

Reuters notes that McDonald’s has another class action lawsuit pending in Michigan, in addition to other individual lawsuits.