Energized by the #MeToo movement, two national advocacy groups are teaming up to lodge sexual harassment complaints against McDonald's on behalf of 10 women who have worked at the fast-food restaurant in nine cities. The workers—one of them a 15-year-old from St. Louis—alleged groping, propositions for sex, indecent exposure, and lewd comments by supervisors. According to their complaints, when the women reported the harassment, they were ignored or mocked, and in some cases suffered retaliation, per the AP. The legal effort was organized by Fight for $15, which campaigns to raise pay for low-wage workers. The legal costs are being covered by the TIMES UP Legal Defense Fund, which was launched in January by the National Women's Law Center to provide attorneys for women who can't afford to bring cases on their own.
The complaints, filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, were being announced on Tuesday, two days ahead of the company's annual shareholder meeting in Oak Brook, Ill. Responding to the claims, a McDonald's spokeswoman said there is "no place for harassment and discrimination of any kind" in the workplace. Fight for $15 said the restaurants named in the complaints are run by franchisees, not directly by McDonald's. But the complaints name both McDonald's Corp. and the franchisee—part of Fight for $15's effort to hold the company responsible for wage and employment issues at franchised locations. The company claims its franchisees are independent business owners, and that stance has complicated efforts to unionize workers across the entire McDonald's chain.
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