On Tuesday, McDonald’s Corporation was sued by a group of workers in the state of Michigan who say the global fast-food chain allows pervasive sexual harassment to run rampant at its restaurant locations.
The proposed class action lawsuit was filed in a Michigan state court, and charges McDonald’s with failing to have policies in place to address sexual harassment, failing to train managers to prevent abuse, and punishing workers who report abuse.
The lawsuit claims McDonald’s “creates and permits a toxic work culture from the very top,” and cites the firing just last week of McDonalds CEO Steve Easterbrook, who is reported to have had an improper sexual relationship with a subordinate employee.
Easterbrook has not been accused of sexual harassment, and says he made a mistake.
McDonald’s said in a statement it is implementing safe-workplace training at its corporate-owned restaurants, and encouraging franchisees to do the same.
“There is a deeply important conversation around safe and respectful workplaces in communities throughout the U.S. and around the world,” McDonald’s said, echoing comments made in August by its new chief executive, Chris Kempczinski.
Roughly 95% of McDonald’s U.S. restaurants are franchised, and the plaintiffs’ lawyers said the Chicago-based company does not push hard enough to improve training at the franchised restaurants.
Read more: McDonald's workers sue over sexual harassment, 'toxic' work culture [Reuters, Daniel Wiessner, Jonathan Stempel]