CHICAGO (CBS) — The “Me Too” Movement is targeting one of Chicago’s biggest companies.
Cooks and cashiers for fast food giant, McDonald’s, say they were sexually harassed on the job. They say managers ignored their complaints.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams was outside McDonald’s new headquarters in the West Loop when the alleged victims protested Tuesday.
Alleged victims stood outside and chanted: “Hey, hey, sexual harassment’s got to go.”
McDonald’s employees, who have been pushing for at least $15 per hour, marched to the company’s headquarters with employees who say they’ve been sexually harassed by co-workers and managers.
Adriana Alvarez, a spokesperson for the fast food workers, says many workers experienced “groping, lewd comments, propositions for sex, attempted sexual assault.”
Workers in nine cities, including Chicago, have filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
22-year-old Tanya Harrel from New Orleans said, “He pinned me against the wall, exposed himself, and tried to force me into sexual intercourse.”
“I am a person, a woman, and I matter,” stated Breauna Morrow.
The McDonald’s employees say their complaints were ignored by supervisors.
“I reported his behavior to the general manager, but nothing was done,” said Kimberly Lawson. “No woman should have to experience what I experienced.”
Attorney Sharyn Tejani of the Times Up Legal Defense Fund says it’s a problem throughout the fast food industry, where low-paid workers feel powerless.
“The fast food industry has an atrocious record on sexual harassment. Polls and studies indicate 40% of workers experience it.”
In a statement, McDonald’s said: “At McDonald’s Corporation, we are and have been committed to a culture that fosters the respectful treatment of everyone. There is no place for harassment and discrimination of any kind in our workplace. McDonald’s Corporation takes allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and are confident our independent franchisees who own and operate approximately 90 percent of our 14,000 U.S. restaurants will do the same.”
Some of the comments the workers said were directed at them are too graphic and lewd to say on-air.
One of the alleged victims is 15 years old.
In addition to the complaints filed with the EEOC, some of the employees are likely to file a suit against McDonald’s.