A class action lawsuit filed against McDonald's corporation claims that women who worked for the fast food franchise in Florida restaurants were subjected to widespread sexual harassment.
The lawsuit was filed on Friday in Chicago federal court, and accuses McDonald's of fostering a climate of "severe or pervasive sexual harassment and a hostile work environment, including groping, physical assaults, and sexually-charged verbal comments."
McDonald's said in a statement that it was committed to ensuring workers were not subject to sexual harassment. "The plaintiffs' allegations of harassment and retaliation were investigated as soon as they were brought to our attention, and we will likewise investigate the new allegations that they have raised in their complaint," it said.
The plaintiffs, McDonald's employee Jamelia Fairley and former employee Ashley Reddick, are seeking to represent a class of female employees of Florida's more than 100 corporate-owned, non-franchise McDonald's locations. They are asking for $500 million in compensatory damages and additional punitive damages.
Fairley and Reddick said in their complaint that McDonald's failed to provide training to prevent sexual harassment and shuffled serial harassers from one location to another without consequence. "McDonald's strategy in Florida appears to be: deny, ignore, and punish anyone who complains too loudly, and at times, move harassers from one restaurant to another restaurant, where they have access to and can further harass more women," they said.
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