The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California Tuesday announced the filing of complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of four McDonald’s workers who allege they were sexually harassed while working at the fast-food chain.
Allegations in the ACLU SoCal filings include sexual propositions, repeated exposure to sexually explicit comments, and retaliations for filing complaints. The complaints are the latest actions in a multi-year national effort by McDonald’s cooks and cashiers to press the company to address alleged harassment, according to the ACLU.
A request for comment sent to the McDonald’s media office was not immediately answered.
The ACLU released a statement quoting an employee of a McDonald’s store in Monterey Park, who said he was a victim of sexual harassment at work.
“The employees of McDonald’s are what make it the most profitable fast-food chain in the world, and we deserve a safe and respectful workplace,” cashier Emmanuel Flores said. “I suffered sexual harassment on a daily basis, and when I complained, my hours were cut.”
The complaints are part of a nationwide filing of sexual harassment EEOC charges and lawsuits against McDonald’s. The filings are supported by the Fight for $15 organization, the ACLU and the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. The Southern California workers include employees in Monterey Park, Los Angeles, and the Antelope Valley.
According to the ACLU, workers at McDonald’s are particularly vulnerable as they are mostly front line, non-managerial employees, who live at the economic margins, unable to risk losing a shift or a job by filing a complaint.
“McDonald’s restaurants in Los Angeles tolerated, and in some cases encouraged, a workplace replete with sexual harassment, and then retaliated against workers who spoke up,” ACLU SoCal senior staff attorney Minouche Kandel alleged. “McDonald’s should lead in preventing and responding to sexual harassment, not tolerate harassment and punish workers who come forward to say #MeToo.”
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