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Lawsuit against McDonald's cites 'culture of sexual harassment'

McDonald's restaurants are a common sight across Missouri, but the corporation and its franchisees have come under increasing scrutiny for allegations of widespread sexual harassment. Attorneys representing female workers at an out-of-state franchise are seeking class-action status for a case that might include over 50 former female employees at the franchise. The lawsuit wants the franchise owner to pay $5 million in damages.

Although the lawsuit concerns the franchise operator, the lead plaintiff believes that the entire corporation tolerates a toxic workplace culture from the top down. The CEO of McDonald's recently had to step down after violating company policy by dating a co-worker. The plaintiff's complaints about sexual harassment at the franchise level were ignored according to her court filings. She, along with other women at the restaurant, reported abuses to the general manager, who allegedly did nothing because the store manager continued to touch the plaintiff, call her names and solicit sex. The lawsuit details an incident in which he allegedly put his penis in her hand while working alongside the woman in the kitchen.

This lawsuit against a franchise operation represents just one in a series of cases that describe sexual harassment at multiple McDonald's locations. Attorneys representing victims said that over 50 cases of sexual harassment at McDonald's are currently under review in courts or at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A statement from McDonald's corporate said that franchisees must now adopt a new training program aimed at stopping workplace harassment.

A person struggling in a hostile work environment could talk to an attorney. Legal representation might result in management taking sexual harassment allegations seriously and launching an honest investigation. An attorney may be able to collect evidence and file a formal complaint with the EEOC, which might result in a settlement or continued litigation.

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