Ten female Mcdonald's current and former employees have filed sexual harassment complaints against the company over the past week.
One worker in Chicago said that a McDonald's supervisor at the franchise store retaliated against her by reducing her hours when she reported instances of sexual harassment by management. Another Chicago worker at a franchise said she was fired soon after reporting that a manager had made sexually explicit comments to her.
A third individual in St. Louis, who is 15 years old, said she was repeatedly harassed by an older employee every Sunday for two months. The employee commented on her appearance and sexually propositioned her, she said. The employee added that reports of the incidents were not taken seriously by a superior at the company-owned store, and the harassment did not end until she stopped working on Sundays.
A 20-year-old woman in Durham, North Carolina, said that she was sexually harassed by co-workers and supervisors. She also said she was subjected to a hostile work environment at the company-owned store because she is black. The woman said she was made fun of by colleagues after reporting the behaviors and she eventually stopped turning to management.
The complaints were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in seven states, including Michigan, Florida and Louisiana. Most of the incidents were alleged to have occurred over the past two years.
McDonald's said in a statement on Tuesday the company takes sexual harassment allegations "very seriously."
"At McDonald's Corporation, we are and have been committed to a culture that fosters the respectful treatment of everyone. There is no place for harassment and discrimination of any kind in our workplace. McDonald's Corporation takes allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and are confident our independent franchisees who own and operate approximately 90 percent of our 14,000 U.S. restaurants will do the same," the statement said.
Lawyers from Altshuler Berzon and Outten & Golden LLP are representing the employees, with funding from TIME'S UP Legal Defense Fund, which is administered by the National Women's Law Center Fund.
Sharyn Tejani, director of the Legal Defense Fund, said in a statement, "we hope to help ensure that these charges will be a catalyst for significant change."
The advocacy group Fight for $15 announced the complaints on Tuesday.
"With support from the TIME'S UP Legal Defense Fund, workers in the Fight for $15 now have a powerful ally in our ongoing effort to make McDonald's restaurants safe places for all workers," said McDonald's employee Adriana Alvarez, who is also a member of the Fight for $15's national organizing committee.
Fight for $15 has set up a hotline for McDonald's employees who want to have their allegations reviewed by lawyers.