McDonald's employees set to strike to protest workplace sexual harassment
- McDonald's workers at several of the restaurant's locations in 10 U.S. cities will stage a one-day strike on Sept. 18 to pressure management to strengthen efforts to end sexual harassment on the job, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Strike organizers described the multi-state walkout as the first of its kind aimed at sexual harassment.
- "Women's committees" comprised of women working at McDonald's approved the plans for the walkout. The organizers include women who filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in May, alleging pervasive harassment at some franchises, AP said. Those who plan to go on strike said they are pushing for improvements in the processes around sexual harassment complaints; mandatory, across-the-board anti-harassment training for managers and staff; and a national committee to address sexual harassment.
- The restaurant defended its efforts to address sexual harassment in an email to the AP, stating that its policies, procedures and training are designed to prevent sexual harassment. The company also said it intends to bring in outside experts to help the company improve the policies and procedures it has in place now.
The extent to which a sexual harassment problem exists at McDonald's remains to be seen but this strike makes a statement of its own. It's been almost a year since the start of the #MeToo movement and workers from all industries are still calling upon company leaders to address sexual harassment in the workplace. Yet few employers have enhanced or altered their harassment policies, an American Physiological Association study found. The survey reported that a mere 10% of respondents said their employer added more sexual harassment training or resources since the movement began, and just 8% said their employer adopted a more stringent sexual harassment policy.
Some companies, however, won't have a choice. Seemingly in response to #MeToo, New York is finalizing a sexual harassment training requirement that employers in the state will have to meet. The law requires that employers train all employees, supervisors and managers about sexual harassment every year. New York City took similar action, and California has had such requirements in place since before the movement took hold, David W. Garland, a member of the firm at Epstein Becker Green, recently wrote for HR Dive, adding that "more mandates are likely to come."
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