'Systematic sexual harassment': International labour union files complaint against McDonald's

McDonald's has allegedly allowed sexual harassment to occur at multiple outlets worldwide.
McDonald's has allegedly allowed sexual harassment to occur at multiple outlets worldwide. Photo credit: Getty

An international group of labour unions have filed a complaint against McDonald's alleging "systematic sexual harassment" is happening at stores worldwide.

The International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) filed the complaint with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) offices in the Netherlands on Monday.

They say they don't want money, but instead want McDonald's to come up with a comprehensive worldwide plan to combat sexual harassment, The Guardian reported.

"McDonald's workers have sounded the alarm about sexual harassment and gender-based violence for years, but a company with a culture rotten from the top has failed to take meaningful action to address the problem," Sue Longley, IUF's general secretary, said in a statement, News18 reported.

"Because McDonald's has neglected to act to create a safe workplace, the Dutch government should make use of this complaint to empower workers to effectively address the rampant harassment they face under the Golden Arches."

The IUF says they filed the complaint in the Netherlands because it was the "nerve centre" in Europe.

They also said they didn't believe the complaint would be handled adequately at McDonald's US headquarters, claiming sexual harassment "permeates the top ranks of corporate management" there.

It alleges McDonald's failed to comply with the guidelines for multinational enterprises and is the first-ever case filed related to sexual harassment at a multinational.

The complaint highlights several cases of harassment including attempted rape and indecent exposure in the United States, promotions in exchange for sexual acts in Brazil, and a hidden cellphone camera installed in the women's changing room in France, with some victims as young as 16-year-old.

In one of the cases, minimum wage activist and Florida McDonald's worker Jamelia Fairley alleged that a male coworker groped her and another male coworker asked how much it would cost to have sex with her one-year-old daughter.

Fairley said that after reporting the behaviour, her hours were significantly reduced, The Guardian reported. 

"No one should have to go through what we have been through," she said.

The other cases occurred at stores in multiple countries including Brazil, Australia, France, the UK, Chile, the United States and Colombia.

McDonald's Corporation told Newshub they are yet to receive the complaint and none of the cases are from New Zealand.

"There is a deeply important conversation around safe and respectful workplaces in communities throughout the US and around the world.

"McDonald's is a people-first company, and we know that crew are the heart and soul of every restaurant.

"Around the world, we believe that McDonald's and its business partners have a responsibility to take action on this issue and are committed to promoting positive change. We will review the complaint when we receive it."

Where to find help and support: 

 

Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633

Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)

Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737

What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)

Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat

Samaritans - 0800 726 666

Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757

Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584


Where to find help and support: 


Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633

Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)

Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737

What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)

Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat

Samaritans - 0800 726 666

Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757

Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584


Where to find help and support: 


Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633

Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)

Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737

What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)

Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat

Samaritans - 0800 726 666

Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757

Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

 
 
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