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Chicago McDonald's Workers File Sexual-Harassment Charges

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Since 2016, McDonald's employees in the United States have filed more than 50 complaints of sexual harassment. (Fight for $15 and a Union)
Since 2016, McDonald's employees in the United States have filed more than 50 complaints of sexual harassment. (Fight for $15 and a Union)
 By Lily Bohlke - Producer, Contact
March 10, 2021

CHICAGO - Three Chicago McDonald's workers have filed sexual-harassment charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging unwanted touching and other inappropriate conduct at the restaurant on West Chicago Avenue.

Two of the workers claim they'd been harassed by a shift manager; the third reported the harassment as a witness, and claims McDonald's retaliated by reducing her hours.

Adriana Alvarez, a McDonald's employee and a leader of the group "Fight for 15 and a Union" in Chicago, said it takes bravery for these women to share their stories - and there are many more like them.

"I think it's very important that, no matter where you work, there's no type of harassment, sexual or verbal," she said, "so we have to start somewhere. It's not just happening at McDonald's, you know, it's happening in a lot of places."

McDonald's chief executive Chris Kempczinski has released a statement, saying sexual harassment has no place at the company and promising to take allegations seriously.

McDonald's markets to young workers, calling itself "America's best first job." But workers' advocates say the more than 50 complaints or lawsuits alleging sexual harassment filed against the company since 2016 suggest differently. They're urging job-recruiting websites such as Indeed and Monster.com to remove more than 100,000 job listings, saying the sites shouldn't profit from listings that put young workers at risk.

Alvarez said she's marched alongside people who've filed complaints in the last few years who feel they've been all but ignored.

"They should actually sit down with the workers," she said, "and ask them, 'What's going on? What do you guys need?' Like, actually come up with a solution and not just touch the subject."

Elected officials in the United States have signed letters urging McDonald's to do just that in recent years, but sexual harassment at the company isn't just an American issue. Workers in countries from France to Brazil have filed similar complaints.

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