McDonald’s Faces Third Wave of Sexual Harassment Charges
Changing Companies, Corporate Policy, Equity, McDonald's, Power, Safety, TIME'S UP Legal Defense Fund
In an Open Letter, TIME’S UP Now Urges McDonald’s to Take Further Steps to Ensure Safety and Equity at Work
Washington, DC — Today the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund™, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Fight for $15 campaign announced the filing of a class action lawsuit against McDonald’s and one of its Michigan franchises. The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund is providing support for this case, as it has for over 30 workers’ federal lawsuits and formal complaints of egregious sexual harassment, assault, and related retaliation.
In response, TIME’S UP Now wrote a letter to McDonald’s leadership. The letter acknowledges the positive steps the company has taken, including the announcement of a new harassment training in August, but emphasizes that there is far more work to be done. It calls on McDonald’s executives and board members to institute specific measures to ensure workers — from the C-suite to the restaurant floor — are safe and respected at work. In addition, TIME’S UP Now shared an open letter with supporters, urging them to help amplify these efforts.
“Less than 10 days ago, you demonstrated leadership on matters of workplace equity by taking swift action when you learned that former CEO Steve Easterbrook had violated company policy by having a relationship with an employee… In August, you announced a new anti-harassment training. [These are steps] in the right direction, but clearly not nearly enough to prevent the pervasive sexual harassment that is happening on your watch,” the letter from TIME’S UP Now to McDonald’s states. “As one of the largest employers in the world, you should be taking the biggest and boldest actions possible to protect the safety of your workforce.”
A copy of TIME’S UP’s letter to McDonald’s can be found below and online here.
November 12, 2019
Chris Kempczinski, President & CEO
Joe Erlinger, President of McDonald’s USA
Enrique Hernandez, Jr, Chairman of the Board
110 North Carpenter Street
One McDonald’s Plaza
Chicago, IL 60607
Delivered via email
Dear Chris Kempczinski, Joe Erlinger, Enrique Hernandez, Jr. and Members of the Board of the McDonald’s Corporation,
Less than 10 days ago, you demonstrated leadership on matters of workplace equity by taking swift action when you learned that former CEO Steve Easterbrook had violated company policy by having a relationship with an employee. In doing so, you demonstrated a willingness to stand up for fairness for workers in your corporate headquarters, and for this, we commend you.
We write to you today, upon news of a third wave of sexual harassment charges, to once again implore you to take the safety and dignity of workers in McDonald’s restaurants just as seriously. At least 30 workers in the past 18 months have, with the support of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, stepped forward to file federal lawsuits and formal complaints of egregioussexual harassment, assault, and related retaliation. Six months ago, we wrote to you personally and demanded action to protect McDonald’s workers (correspondence appended). Specifically, we asked you to:
- Provide comprehensive training, system-wide, for employees and managers — including what bystanders can do;
- Require that all stores — corporate and franchised — protect their workers from sexual assault and harassment;
- Ensure that there is a fair and effective process for reporting incidents of harassment, that employees know their rights and managers know their responsibilities;
- Guarantee that workers do not face retaliation if they report harassment; and
- Commit to transparency about the amount of harassment that occurs — in all stores, corporate and franchised — and what actions the company takes when it does.
In August, you announced a new anti-harassment training. This is a step in the right direction, but clearly not nearly enough to prevent the pervasive sexual harassment that is happening on your watch. As one of the largest employers in the world, you should be taking the biggest and boldest actions possible to protect the safety of your workforce. Ensuring all McDonald’s locations are safe and equitable workplaces should be a key performance indicator for corporate-owned and franchise locations.
Under new leadership, McDonald’s has an opportunity, and obligation, to act now to ensure that all of its locations are safe and equitable for all.
We hope you will seize this moment. McDonald’s workers can’t afford to wait any longer.
TIME’S UP Now
TIME’S UP™ Now insists upon safe, fair, and dignified work for women of all kinds. We work to make sure women are free from harassment and other forms of discrimination on the job, have equal opportunity for economic security, and can achieve the highest positions of power wherever they work. TIME’S UP Now is an independent, nonpartisan, and not-for-profit 501(c)(4) charitable organization that works for change across culture, companies, and laws.
TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund
The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund™, which is housed at and administered by the National Women’s Law Center Fund LLC, connects those who experience sexual misconduct including assault, harassment, abuse, and related retaliation in the workplace or in trying to advance their careers with legal and public relations assistance. The Fund helps defray legal and public relations costs in select cases based on criteria and availability of funds. Donations to the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund are tax deductible through the TIME’S UP™ Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.