(Adds McDonald's comments)
By Daniel Wiessner
Oct 5 A union-backed group said it had filed
complaints on behalf of 15 U.S. McDonald's workers who
say they were sexually harassed on the job, in the latest
challenge to how the fast-food company and its franchisees treat
Fight for $15, which has organized strikes and protests
calling for employers to raise wages, said on Wednesday that it
filed the administrative complaints with the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission against McDonald's USA LLC and
individual franchisees in eight states over the last month.
Cycei Monae, a McDonald's worker in Flint, Michigan, said a
manager showed her a picture of his genitals and said he wanted
to "do things" to her, according to a complaint provided by
Fight for $15. Corporate officials ignored her complaints, Monae
said on a phone call with reporters on Wednesday.
In another complaint, a worker in Folsom, California, said a
supervisor offered her $1,000 for oral sex.
Thirteen of the complaints were by women, and two were by
men, said Fight for $15, which the Service Employees
International Union formed in 2012.
"As the country's second-largest employer, McDonald's has a
responsibility to set standards in both the fast-food industry
and the economy overall," Kendall Fells, organizing director for
Fight for $15, said in a statement.
McDonald's spokeswoman Terri Hickey said the company takes
harassment complaints seriously and was reviewing the
"At McDonald's, we and our independent owner-operators share
a deep commitment to the respectful treatment of everyone," she
said in a statement.
The EEOC, a federal agency that enforces discrimination
laws, does not comment on complaints it receives, it said. It
can file lawsuits on workers' behalf or grant them permission to
bring their own cases.
While most of the complaints were filed on behalf of
employees at franchised restaurants that McDonald's Corp does
not own, all of them say the company is responsible for the
harassment because it controls working conditions there.
McDonald's is also facing a class-action lawsuit in federal
court in San Francisco by 800 workers at several franchised
restaurants who say they are owed overtime pay and were forced
to skip breaks.
The company has denied that it is a "joint employer," a
designation that could render it liable for labor law violations
by franchisees and require it to bargain with workers at those
restaurants if they unionize.
In a case before the National Labor Relations Board, Fight
for $15 claims the company is a joint employer of franchise
workers who say they faced retaliation for joining in nationwide
strikes organized by the group. McDonald's has said it neither
retaliated against workers at its own restaurants nor instructed
franchisees to do so.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York, Editing by
Alexia Garamfalvi and Lisa Von Ahn)