- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A woman who worked at McDonald’s sued the “Golden Arches” fast-food restaurant alleging pervasive sexual harassment throughout the corporation in a class-action filed in Michigan court Tuesday.

Jenna Ries said she experienced harassment from her supervisor at the McDonald’s in Mason, Michigan, where she worked for about two years. Ms. Ries also filed a complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging sexual discrimination.

“I lived in constant fear of losing my job because I didn’t want to be treated like trash, and because I didn’t give in to my harasser’s disgusting behavior,” Ms. Ries said.

The filing comes after the former fast-food CEO Steve Easterbrook was recently ousted following revelations of his affair with an employee.

“Despite being on notice of pervasive problems of sexual harassment nationwide, McDonald’s fails to address such unlawful sexual harassment and the company culture that enables it,” the lawsuit read.

According to the court filing, a male manager would call Ms. Ries foul names and grab her physically — “including her crotch, breasts, and buttocks.”

On one occasion, he shoved her inside a walk-in freezer and pinned her against the wall. Ms. Ries said the general manager was present during some of these incidents but did nothing.

“It drove me to tears, and ultimately left me no choice but to take action. I’m speaking out now to make sure what happened to me doesn’t happen to anyone else at McDonald’s,” Ms. Ries said.

The lawsuit asks the court to certify a class of female workers who have suffered sex-based discrimination at McDonald’s, requesting $5 million in damages.

“McDonald’s likes to say that it is powerless to stop sexual harassment from occurring in its franchise restaurants,” said Gillian Thomas, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. “That would be laughable if it weren’t so destructive to the lives of tens of thousands of workers being left to fend for themselves.”

According to the ACLU, McDonald’s has had more than 50 complaints of harassment over the past three years.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s Corporation said the company partnered with the National Franchisee Leadership Association and the Women Operators Network to implement safe and respectful workplace training.

“There is a deeply important conversation around safe and respectful workplaces in communities throughout the U.S. and around the world, and McDonald’s is demonstrating its continued commitment to this issue through the implementation of Safe and Respectful Workplace Training in 100% of our corporate-owned restaurants,” the spokesperson said.

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