The fast food industry is experiencing a surge in sexual harassment claims and multiple reports not being followed up on by these employers. Why is this industry seeing such a problem and what can we do to prevent this?
FAST FOOD WORKERS, SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND THE #METOO MOVEMENT
"Five years ago, #MeToo dominated social media as sexual abuse accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein began to surface. And it didn’t stop there; men in the spotlight from Louis C.K. to Matt Lauer came under fire for sexual assault and harassment. Hollywood isn’t the only place the #MeToo reckoning took hold. Women in workplaces across industries spoke out against unfair treatment, mainly committed by men in positions of power.
One such woman is Jamelia Fairley, who worked at a McDonald’s in Florida. And now, she’s a plaintiff in a class action suit against the restaurant chain alongside some 5,000 other women from more than 100 McDonald’s locations across the state.
Fairley describes another employee calling her rude names and groping her multiple times while at work. So she made the tough choice faced by many victims of sexual assault or harassment to report the incident. But that didn’t change anything. “It continued to happen and nothing was done about it,” she says. “I was working with this person on shifts. They never changed a shift.” Learn more
MCDONALD'S FRANCHISE AND THEIR PROBLEMS WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT
"AMTCR, Inc., a franchise owner and operator of McDonald’s restaurants in Arizona, California and Nevada, agreed to pay $1,997,500 to settle allegations by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that it allowed teenage workers to be sexually harassed and intimidated on a repeated basis, the agency announced Jan. 6 (EEOC v. AMTCR, Inc., No. 21-01808 (D. Nev., Sept. 29, 2021)). Since at least 2017, supervisors, managers and co-workers at AMTCR’s McDonald’s restaurants allegedly subjected teen employees to pervasive harassment such as unwanted sexual touching, offensive comments and sexual advances, according to court documents. Despite multiple reports of misconduct, management allowed the harassment to continue, forcing many workers to quit, the EEOC alleged." Learn more
BURGER KING'S FRANCHISE AND THEIR PROBLEMS WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT
"A Georgia-based Burger King franchisee will pay $60,000 to settle sex harassment, retaliation and pregnancy discrimination claims brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency said in a Jan. 19 press release. According to the complaint, a former employee of North Georgia Foods alleged she was sexually harassed by a male manager and subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex and pregnancy. After complaining to a second manager multiple times, the employee saw her hours reduced and was ultimately removed from the employer’s work schedule." Learn More
THIS HAS BEEN A PROBLEM FOR YEARS. IN 2016, 40% OF FEMALE FAST FOOD WORKERS REPORTED HARASSMENT
"A new report on women working in the fast food industry reveals that 40 percent experience sexual harassment at work, and that some may feel trapped in their jobs as a result, according to surveys conducted by Hart Research Associates. The research firm polled 1,217 women aged 16 or older who were working in non-managerial positions in fast-food restaurants between July 22 and 27, 2016. The interviews indicated that 40 percent of the women experienced unwanted sexual behavior at work, with 28 percent reporting multiple incidents of harassment, including sexual jokes or teasing, touching, kissing, or comments about sexual orientation.
According to the study, this type of harassment in the workplace negatively impacted the women surveyed, with reports of increased stress, anxiety, depression, and loss of appetite, along with difficulty sleeping. Of the women polled, some adjusted their schedules after experience unwanted sexual behavior, while others cut back on hours or quit, and 42 percent of women who experienced harassment reported feeling the need to accept it rather than lose their jobs. Learn more