McDonald’s has been accused of lacking policies to deal with sexual harassment, failing to train managers to prevent sexual harassment and retaliating against employees who complained in a class-action lawsuit in michigan.
The lawsuit alleges that McDonald’s “created and allowed a harmful work culture from the top,” citing the dismissal last week of chief executive Steve Easterbrook over an improper relationship with an employee.
Easterbrook said he made a mistake, but he was not accused of sexual harassment.
McDonald’s said in a statement that it is implementing workplace safety training at its restaurants and encourages franchisees to do the same.
About 95 percent of McDonald’s U.S. restaurants are franchising, and plaintiffs’ lawyers say the Chicago-based company is not doing enough to improve training in franchise restaurants.
In the past three years, McDonald’s employees have filed more than 50 similar complaints against McDonald’s and its franchisees in the United States.
Jenna Ries, a plaintiff’s representative, said Tuesday’s lawsuit was the first class action.
Reese, 32, who worked for a year and a half at a franchise McDonald’s in Mason, near Lansing, Michigan, said a restaurant manager there made her subject to multiple sexual abuse and contacts.
The class action was filed on behalf of women who have worked at Mason’s restaurant for the past three years. It seeks improved training, additional protection for employees and more than $5 million in compensation.
Plaintiffs, however, may find it difficult to held McDonald’s accountable for the Michigan franchisee’s actions. A federal appeals court in San Francisco said last month that McDonald’s did not exercise enough control over franchise employees to be considered a “joint employer.”