A woman who worked at a McDonald’s restaurant in the vicinity of Lansing, Michigan, describes alleged sexual harassment and threats of retaliation from her manager during her time of employment. She claims that she never received any training about how to counteract this treatment.
The former employee and her attorney claim that the treatment she was allegedly subject to is emblematic of a problem that exists at McDonald’s restaurants across the country. Therefore, with the backing of civil rights advocacy groups, they have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the corporation with the former employee as the single named plaintiff.
The lawsuit comes at the same moment that McDonald’s workers in Detroit are striking for a minimum wage of $15 per hour and the right to unionize. The hope is that unionization could help to resolve workplace issues like sexual harassment as well as achieving higher pay for workers.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff describes alleged harassment of both a verbal and physical nature, including derisive comments and insults that were sexually charged, as well as physical assault and groping. Such behaviors allegedly contributed to a hostile work environment that, according to the lawsuit, managers did nothing to dispel.
Backed by the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union, the plaintiff filed the lawsuit this week in Ingham County Circuit Court. In response to the lawsuit, McDonald’s issued a statement describing its efforts to combat sexual harassment in its corporate-owned restaurants through the implementation of Safe and Respectful Workplace Training.
The plaintiff who filed the lawsuit correctly observes that workers deserve to feel safe at work. This is true everywhere, not just at McDonald’s. Current and former employees who have been subject to sexual harassment in the workplace may wish to have a discussion with an attorney.