McDonald's says it's offering training to combat harassment

Customers using mobile phones are seen through the windows of a McDonald's store in Tokyo

Customers using mobile phones are seen through the windows of a McDonald's store in Tokyo Japan

McDonald's Corp. says it's enhancing training and offering a new hotline for workers in response to mounting allegations of sexual harassment. The Chicago-based company has also long said it should not be liable for how employees in franchised restaurants behave.

The complaints allege that repeated efforts by workers to seek assistance from management were ignored or mocked.

"If McDonald's can dictate the specific type of pickle that can be used by their franchises in their burgers, why can't they dictate and enforce with penalties a comprehensive set of guidelines", she said. Some workers saw their hours reduced, were disciplined or fired after they complained, the advocacy group claims.

McDonald's has 14,000 restaurants in the US, and 95 percent of them are franchises.

McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, in his letter to Duckworth on Monday, said the company started working a year ago with RAINN, a leading anti-sexual violence organization, to enhance its policies to more clearly define sexual harassment, provide examples of unacceptable behavior, and underscore how employees can report a complaint if they don't feel comfortable going to their manager.

The cases announced by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the labor group Fight for $15, and the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund cover alleged misconduct at McDonald's locations in 20 USA cities, including groping, indecent exposure, propositions for sex, and lewd comments. This August front-line staff will start receiving training during their shifts about harassment, unconscious bias and safety.

One former McDonald's worker Brittany Hoyos told the Times she was subjected to harassment from a manager who allegedly touched her and attempted to kiss her.

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