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Fast Food Employees Say “Enough is Enough” When It Comes to Sexual Harassment

Posted on in Employee Handbooks and Policies

Arlington Heights business law attorneysRecently, employees at the fast food company McDonald’s voiced their concerns regarding sexual harassment by protesting outside restaurants across the country. The employees, both men and women, held signs that said things like “#MeToo” and “Keep your hands off my thighs.” McDonald’s employees participating in the strike claim that too many incidents of sexual harassment have been overlooked or flat-out ignored. It is a problem that many experts say plagues fast food chains. For business owners, the protests are a profound reminder of the importance of creating effective sexual harassment procedures and policy.  

McDonald’s Employees File Complaints Over Unwelcome Advances

Complaints made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by McDonald’s employees allege that some supervisors have not only made sexual advances toward subordinates, but also retaliated against those who reported or criticized the harassment. Many employees say they were scared to speak up about harassment they witnessed or experienced themselves for fear of having their work hours cut or being fired. The Civil Rights Act of 1965—the primary federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination such as sexual harassment—not only protects employees from sexual harassment at work, but also guards against employer retaliation. Various federal and local laws establish the rights of “whistleblowers,” or people who file complaints about discrimination or unsafe workplaces.

Fast Food Employees May Be Especially Susceptible to Sexual Harassment

It is no secret that fast food companies often hire younger or less experienced employees. Many people’s first job is working at a restaurant such as McDonald’s. Naïve employees or those with little work experience may be unaware of their rights with regard to sexual harassment and are taken advantage of as a result. Fast food workers living paycheck to paycheck may be afraid to risk losing their only source of income by standing up against harassment.

Other fast food companies have been accused of not doing enough to address and prevent sexual harassment as well. Just recently, the EEOC sued Del Taco for sexual harassment and retaliation in a California federal court. Last May, Burger King franchisee Heartland Food was forced to pay $55,000 after it was discovered that the company knew sexual harassment was occurring but chose not to address it.

We Can Help Your Business Stay Compliant with Sexual Harassment Law

If you are a business owner who would like to learn more about sexual harassment or your business is facing sexual harassment allegations, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Arlington Heights business law attorney. Call 847-749-4182 to schedule a consultation at A. Traub and Associates today.



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