What’s Going on at McDonalds?: CEO Admits to Receiving Sexual Harassment Claims Every Day

image with mcdonalds logo
Photo Credits: Jonas Augustin via Unsplash

A shocking report by BBC reveals that there has been a culture of bullying, racism and sexual harassment at McDonalds.

This was revealed shortly after McDonald’s entered into an agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC); an agreement stated they would protect their staff from harassment, bullying and racism.

Subsequently, the BBC reached out to McDonald’s workers over a five-month period. Through their investigation, they got information about sexual assault and harassment that occurs in their various outlets.

Mcdonald’s Signs Legal Agreement with EHRC

In February 2023, McDonald’s entered into an agreement with EHRC stating that they will protect their staff from harassment. Additionally, they agreed to conduct anonymous surveys to ensure workplace safety. These obligations are part of a long list of responsibilities by the EHRC.

ECHR Chairwoman on sexual harassment in light of Mcdonald's signing agreement
Image credits: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/

However, since the signing of the agreement, the BBC decided to investigate whether McDonald’s is fulfilling its obligations. Unfortunately, the report suggested that they are not. The BBC heard some horrifying stories and a few of the claims were:

  1. A 17-year-old worker was choked and grabbed by a much older colleague
  2. A 16-year-old worker being asked for sex in exchange for vapes by a manager
  3. Male members of staff and managers making jokes about sleeping with new recruits
  4. Workers being the subject of racial abuse and inappropriate jokes

BBC also found that many staff members have sexual relations with managers which is against company policy.

READ: Pizza Hut Employees Win Sexual Harassment Case

Sexual Harassment Training Not Taken Seriously

Another major aspect of being in a legally binding agreement with EHRC is being obligated to provide training on sexual harassment prevention. The BBC found that while McDonald’s staff was being trained, they weren’t being trained seriously by managers.

This is not just the case in the UK as McDonald’s has been facing scrutiny in the US as well; their chief executive officer was fired for having inappropriate consensual relations with employees. In 2021, as reported by the BBC, McDonald’s employees in the US ended up going on strike five times just to have their voices heard.

In addition, 800 female workers were sexually harassed at work in 2020 (as reported by an anonymous survey). And the ones who reported it, all suffered the consequences.

“We Face One or Two Sexual Harassment Claims a Day”

Alistair Macrow, chief executive officer of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, revealed that they get at least one or two sexual harassment cases and the stories he heard so far are truly horrific. He further adds that he pledges to eradicate these claims and since July around 18 people have been dismissed based on the complaints they got.

While this is a step in the right direction, even at one claim a day, it’s shocking to imagine a fast-food chain this global facing such a high number of sexual harassment claims. And in comparison, dismissing only 18 people seems too small of a number. However, with the number of people McDonald’s hires across the UK, it’s not easy to always keep track, which is why training and reporting need to be given more importance when bringing on new employees.

READ: Being Told To Wear Makeup Is Sex Harassment Rules ET

Since McDonald’s has a mixed workforce with many young kids working their first job, it is essential to provide them with a safe working space. Unfortunately, many young workers have told the BBC that working at McDonald’s means getting used to the possibility of being harassed.

What to Do if you are Sexually Harassed at Work?

In light of the BBC investigation, EHRC has set up a confidential email hotline to report incidents at McDonald’s. If you’re a McDonalds employee and are being harassed or know of someone being harassed at work, you can get in touch with EHRC and report the incident to – mcdonalds@equalityhumanrights.com 

At Redmans Solicitors, our employment law specialists are always available to listen to your case and see if you can make a substantial claim. Even if you have not raised a complaint about it at work, our team encourages employees to bring their case.

You can take a look at our guide on sexual harassment and workplace harassment, or get in touch with our team by:


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