McDonald’s workers join #MeToo with lawsuits for sexual harassment

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    McDonald's workers join #MeToo with lawsuits for sexual harassment One of the McDonalds in New York, United States, on Monday, April 4, 2011. EFE / Archivo

     Chicago, – The #MeToo protest against sexual harassment arrived at the Chicago headquarters of US fast food giant McDonald’s on Tuesday after it was revealed that two national law firms filed 25 complaints and sexual harassment lawsuits against the corporation.

    The numerous complaints, said Isabel Urbano, spokesperson for the campaign Fight For $ 15, which seeks a fairer salary for the workers of the sector, come from different cities in the country and were interposed with the help of two legal organizations.
    These are American Civil Liberties Union and TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund.

    The cases cover 20 cities in the country and range from proposals for having sex to touching the employees, as well as obscene comments to the workers, some of them under 16 years old.

    According to Urbano, many workers sought to have their supervisors correct the harassment, but their complaints in several cases were not taken with the due seriousness.

    On the contrary, as in many cases of sexual harassment in other places, the management sought to punish the workers with a reduction of hours, acts of discipline and in some cases dismissals.
    Tanya Harrel, a worker at a McDonald’s in Gretna, California, detailed her experience of harassment of the press.

    “For three years we’ve been talking, filing charges and even going on strike to get McDonald’s to deal with their problem of sexual harassment,” said Harrell, whom a co-worker tried to rape her in a bathroom.

    “But these new charges show that nothing has changed, we can not wait any longer for the action, McDonald’s, it’s time to sit down with the workers who help make their $ 6 billion in profits possible …”

    The announcement of these cases comes to public opinion shortly before the annual meeting of the unions of this corporation, which will be held in Chicago.
    In another of the 25 cases, a supervisor in Durham, North Carolina, dismissed a complaint from a woman who reported a co-worker making obscene comments and exposed her private parts to her.

    Then that partner tried to have sex with her inside a fridge.
    However, the supervisor of both did not believe the woman. On the contrary, the hours of the worker were reduced, said Urbano.
    Jamelia Fairley, a worker at an establishment of this corporation in Sandford, Florida, exposed her experience of workplace harassment.

    “I was subjected to a humiliating and intimidating environment at McDonald’s and the managers did nothing to stop it,” Fairley said.
    “To make things worse, after I reported the sexually explicit language and the inappropriate touches that I faced regularly, my hours were reduced, which made it almost impossible for me to support my daughter,” he said.

    The McDonald’s Corporation, for its part, stated that it has institutionalized several measures to prevent harassment and that this includes new disciplinary measures and training for managers.

    Following the #MeToo movement, dozens of women in the country, including Hollywood stars, have detailed cases of sexual harassment, including rapes in various parts of the country.
    This movement is inspiring workers in the fast food industry to report their cases (EFEUSA).

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