According to survey results released Wednesday by the National Partnership for Women & Families (NPWF), fully 40% of women working in the fast-food industry report facing sexual harassment at work, more than double the rate of reported harassment by the entire U.S. workforce.
Cooks and cashiers at McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) restaurants announced Wednesday that they have filed 15 complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the fast-food behemoth.
The complaints against both corporate and franchise McDonald’s stores reveal instances where workers alerted general managers and McDonald’s corporate staff being harassed on the job. The complaints allegedly went unaddressed, or in some cases were met with retaliation from managers. The workers are demanding that McDonald’s enforce the zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment outlined in its own policies for franchisees.
The fast-food survey, conducted by Hart Research Associates, also shows that 42 percent of women in the industry who experience unwanted sexual behavior feel forced to accept it because they can’t afford to lose their jobs. More than one in five women who face sexual harassment (21%) report that, after raising the issue, their employer took some negative action, including cutting their hours, changing them to a less desirable schedule, giving them additional duties, and being denied a raise.
Fast-food workers have announced a “wave of lunchtime rush hour protests” on Thursday at McDonald’s restaurants in three dozen cities carrying signs that read “McDonald’s I’m Not on the Menu” and “McDonald’s, Put Some Respect in My Check.”