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BBC Investigation Uncovers Many Cases of Sexual Harassment & Assault at Various McDonalds’ Throughout the U.K.

Emanuel Shirazi

Over 100 United Kingdom McDonald’s employee have been abused and harassed by their managers. These employees claim to have been subjected to bullying, sexual assault, racial discrimination, sexual discrimination, and more. McDonalds is one of the Commonwealth’s largest private-sector employers. They have roughly 1,450 restaurants employing 177,000 Brits. Of the entire staff about three-quarters are between the ages of 16 and 25. Alistair Macrow, the corporation’s chief executive in the U.K. and Ireland, released a statement saying that employees deserve a safe, respectful, and inclusive workplace. He apologized for the many instances in which the work environment has been toxic and hostile.

Back in February, the American fast-food chain signed an agreement with Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to protect staff from sexual harassment. The BBC conducted an investigation over the past 5 months which uncovered several instances where managers allegedly sent teenage workers explicit images, pressured subordinates into performing sexual acts, and called co-workers racial slurs. The news network published a report on July 18, 2023, including all of the instances where there has been a breach of contract throughout the many fast-food locations.

A 17-year-old employee at a McDonald’s location in Cheshire, England, was called a racial slur by her 37-year-old supervisor and was told that he wanted to make a “black and white” baby with her. Then, he proceeded to show her his penis.

A 22-year-old employee at a branch in Norwich, England, mentioned a policy that their manager had put in place. The policy included putting attractive employees at the front of the restaurant.

There have been other claims regarding older male colleagues that would grope younger female employees using the kitchen’s lack of space as an excuse. A 16-year-old employee in Berkshire, England, claims that she would be in constant fear while working due to the behavior of the other male employees. She had been sexually harassed several times and eventually resigned citing a toxic work environment. She informed management about the harassment but nothing was done.

Many other female employees have come forward with their stories working at McDonalds. These employees would complain to management or senior staff after enduring the behavior and would simply be told to ignore and continue working. In one instance, a teenager’s stepfather had to write a letter to the franchise, its corporate headquarters, and the police department regarding the racial and sexual harassment her 17-year-old daughter tolerated. After this, her aggressor was finally fired.

The investigation uncovered more cases involving verbal abuse. A female employee at a McDonald’s location in Oxfordshire, England, was called a Pakistani terrorist by crew members and would be spoken to in “gibberish” to imitate her native language.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission stated that “under the Equality Act 2010, employers are legally responsible if an employee is sexually harassed at work by another employee, if the employer has not taken all possible steps to prevent it from happening.” It’s still unclear whether McDonald’s will be facing any type of litigation in response to the findings of the BBC’s investigation.

Under California law, employers are also required to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment at work. This includes a host of actions including, sexual harassment training, having a complaint process, immediately investigating and addressing harassment allegations, etc…

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