Sexual harassment by managers, supervisors or co-workers happens in every line of work. In some industries, however, sexual harassment is likely to be more common. Earlier in October, 15 McDonald's employees filed harassment claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In light of this news, Motto, a website run by Time Magazine, commissioned a survey about sexual harassment in the fast food industry. The results were eye-opening.
Two in five women in the fast food industry report sexual harassment at work
This survey interviewed 1,200 women who worked in fast food restaurants. Overall, the survey found that 40% of these women experienced sexual harassment at work. This conduct included:
- Sexually charged comments or jokes
- Requests for sexual favors at work
- Sexual assault
Nearly half of these women said the harassment created stress, anxiety and other negative consequences.
Survey shows a dramatic imbalance of power in fast food workplaces
A majority of the women who experienced sexual harassment at work did not report this harassment to their employer. There is good reason for this. According to the survey, roughly 20% of the women who did report harassment faced illegal retaliation, such as termination, reducing their number of shifts or changing their work schedule. This is particularly difficult for women who may be supporting their families on the relatively low wages found in most fast food restaurants. Given these factors, it is likely that many women are likely suffering in silence.
While some fast food franchises, such as McDonald's, have "zero-tolerance" policies against sexual harassment, the fact remains that these policies are only effective if they are enforced. As long as women face retaliation for speaking out against harassment, the fast food industry will not be doing everything it can to eliminate sexual harassment at work.
If you have been sexually harassed in your workplace, an employment lawyer will be critical in helping you hold your employer accountable. Thatcher Law Firm has effectively represented employees across Maryland and the Washington D.C. area in all kinds of employment cases.
Source: McDonald's Sexual Harassment Complaints Show How Widespread the Problem Is, Motto, by Linda A. Seabrook and Debra L. Ness, October 6, 2016