In Brief

McDonald’s accused of worldwide ‘systematic sexual harassment’ of employees

Children as young as 16 allegedly ‘mocked and punished’ for reporting abuse

An international coalition of trade unions has filed a complaint against McDonald’s that accuses the fast-food chain of failing to tackle “rampant” sexual harassment of its employees.

The complaint lists numerous incidents of harassment and abuse at McDonald’s restaurants across the globe, including attempted rape and indecent exposure in the US, a promotion in exchange for sexual acts in Brazil, and a hidden camera in a women’s changing room in France, reports The Guardian.

“There’s a rotten culture from the top,” Sue Longley, general secretary of the International Union of Foodworkers, told a press conference in Rio de Janeiro. The company has “failed dismally to take meaningful action” against the abuse, she said.

According to the complaint, victims as young as 16 claimed “they were ignored, mocked, or punished when they reported it. Some had their hours cut back and others were fired”, reports the Bangkok Post.

The labour unions filed the complaint with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the Netherlands, noting that the watchdog’s guidelines require “corporate due diligence to ensure respect for workers’ human rights”, says New York-based news site Barron’s.

Yet “gender-based violence and harassment is part of McDonald’s culture”, the complaint alleges.

The complaint will be examined by the Dutch government, which has up to three months to decide whether to launch a process of mediation with the fast-food giant.

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