Two female McDonald’s employees announced they are joining a $500 million lawsuit against the company over claims of sexual harassment.
Jamelia Fairley and Ashley Reddick both said they had to endure verbal abuse and physical touching by male co-workers.
Rather than the harassers being disciplined, Fairley and Reddick claim that their supervisors retaliated against them. Fairley’s hours were reduced and Reddick was fired.
According to their lawyer, Eve Cervantez, McDonald’s response to most claims to issues of sexual harassment is that it has no responsibility to protect employees because they are technically employed by franchisees.
But Fairley and Reddick both worked for a company-owned McDonald’s restaurant in Florida, which is home to more than 100 company-owned McDonald’s restaurants.
“This class action lawsuit seeks to hold McDonald’s responsible for protecting its women workers in Florida against sexual harassment,” said Cervantez.
This is not the first time that Cervantez has represented plaintiffs in sexual harassment charges against McDonald’s.
In May 2018, her law firm represented 10 women who brought charges against McDonald’s with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
According to Cervantez, McDonald’s didn’t make the necessary changes in policies and procedures to include the training of managers to properly handle sexual harassment allegations, however.
Then in May 2019, with assistance from the American Civil Liberties Union, Cervantez announced the filing of an additional 25 complaints and charges alleging sexual harassment in McDonald’s restaurants around the country.
Last Friday, she filed the latest class action sexual harassment lawsuit, alleging that McDonald’s policies and procedures condone and foster sexual harassment and a hostile working environment at the 100-plus company-owned and operated restaurants in Florida.
“This lawsuit seeks systemic change from McDonald’s,” Cervantez said. “The lawsuit asks that the company sit down and really talk to its workers, listen and hear survivors of sexual harassment and come up with worker-led trainings, policies and procedures that are designed to truly eradicate sexual harassment at McDonald’s.”
In a statement to the media, McDonald’s said it is committed to ensuring that employees work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment.
“The plaintiff’s allegations of harassment and retaliation were investigated as soon as they were brought to our attention, and we will likewise investigate the new allegations that they have raised in their complaint,” the company said.