Two McDonald’s workers have filed a $A786m class action lawsuit, accusing the company of fostering “systemic sexual harassment”.
Jamelia Fairley and Ashley Reddick are named on behalf of some 5,000 women from over 100 US McDonald’s outlets.
McDonald’s workers sue on behalf of thousands of women
Fairley and Reddick join 5,000 other women who worked at corporate-run McDonald’s restaurants across Florida.
The legal action centres on a particular McDonald’s restaurant near Orlando, Florida.
It alleges “extensive illegal harassment that went ignored by management”.
The women claim numerous employees experienced:
- pervasive sexual harassment
- and a hostile work environment, including groping, sexual assault and sexually-charged comments.
Fairley, 24, alleges harassment at the hands of two colleagues.
One made sexually-explicit comments towards her, telling her she has a “fat ass” and that he wanted to “take [her] on a ride”.
Further, Fairley says the comments escalated to unwanted touching.
For example, the colleague would pull her into his groin area and “[rub] his genitals on her”.
Fairley reported the behaviour, and consequently had her hours cut.
“McDonald’s did not take my complaint seriously,” she said.
Reddick, 28, also allegedly faced verbal and physical harassment from a male co-worker.
For example, the colleague allegedly rubbed his groin area against her and touched her thighs.
Furthermore, on one occasion she alleges he put his phone in front of her face and showed her a picture of his genitals.
Reddick says she told her managers and was fired as a result.
“Jamelia and I are filing this lawsuit on behalf of McDonald’s workers across Florida because the company needs to step up and protect us.”
McDonald’s says it takes sexual harassment seriously
McDonald’s says it updated its discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation policy and training in January 2019.
Furthermore, it now offers a free hotline to call with any “employment concerns”.
The company said in a statement:
“McDonald’s has always been committed to ensuring that our employees are able to work in an environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment.”
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