Published 07/19/2023 19:54
The routine of workers at the McDonald’s fast food chain in the United Kingdom has been one of abuse and racism, according to reports collected by BBC. British media began investigating the fast-food chain after noting that the company had signed an agreement with the Human Rights and Equality Commission (EHRC) pledging to protect employees from sexual abuse.
The agreement was signed in February. Since then the BBC talked to more than one hundred employees. In the collected reports, 31 people reported sexual abuse and 78 sexual harassment/discrimination based on sexual orientation. In addition to another 18 complaints of racism and 6 of homophobia.
The reports are many and involve routines of: touching and grabbing, sexual harassment, racial insults, bullying, sending sexual images, indecent proposals, persecution in exchange for sexual intercourse, among others.
A young woman reports that when she accepts to work at McDonald’s, she expects to receive this type of treatment – which says a lot about the company’s culture.
In the United Kingdom, there are 1,450 units and more than 170,000 people work in the network, with the vast majority of workers, around 75%, being young people between 16 and 25 years old – the main targets of harassment due to fragile working relationships and the subordination to senior officials.
Fragile working conditions contribute to the spread of a culture of abuse. As many McDonald’s employees are only paid per hour worked and on demand in a model called “zero hour”, many young people feel compelled not to complain and not report abuses so as not to be left out of work schedules, or even to be fired.
The company had already committed to measures to end cases of sexual harassment. For this, it invested in training, but this is not respected by the unit managers, according to reports. Many of them are even accused of being responsible for the abuses.
Another practice indicated in the complaints is the sexual involvement of managers with employees in a lower position, a practice prohibited by McDonald’s policy.
Furthermore, the other cases reported to managers over the years were ignored.
In the United States, McDonald’s went through a similar situation and has been responding to millionaire lawsuits in court.
For the BBC, the CEO of McDonald’s, Alistair Macrow, stated that there is no room for “harassment, abuse or discrimination” and apologized for the reported cases. He also stated that the cases will be investigated and punished.
*BBC information. Red Edition, Murilo da Silva.