The CEO of McDonald’s United Kingdom has acknowledged that the fast-food chain receives one to two sexual harassment complaints per week.
Since July, Alistair Macrow informed members of parliament that the organisation had received over 400 complaints from employees.
He stated that eighteen individuals had been terminated since then, but he was unaware of the number of complaints that had been escalated to law enforcement.
Employees as young as seventeen years old were subjected to groping and harassment.
Corporate Response and Refund Figures
They claimed McDonald’s had a toxic work environment in which allegations of sexual assault, bigotry, and bullying went unanswered.
Tuesday before the Business and Trade Select Committee, Mr. Macrow disclosed that since July, McDonald’s UK had received 407 employee complaints of varying natures.
Operational Impact on McDonald’s UK
Complaints were addressed by an investigation management unit established by Mr. Macrow.
Mr. Macrow stated that seventeen of the 157 complaints that had been investigated pertained to sexual harassment and had resulted in disciplinary action. Nine pertained to intimidation, and one concerned racial harassment, he further stated.
He further stated that out of the unresolved cases, 27 of the complaints pertain to sexual harassment.
Mr. Macrow stated, “To provide an overview of our daily occurrences, we typically receive twenty to twenty-five contacts per week, of which sexual harassment comprises one to two instances.”
With over 170,000 employees, the fast-food chain is one of the largest private sector employers in the United Kingdom.
It has one of the youngest workforces in the United Kingdom, with three-quarters of its employees being between the ages of 16 and 25; for many, this is their first employment.
There are 1,450 restaurants in total. Mr. Macrow asserts that 89% of its branches in the United Kingdom are franchised. However, he acknowledged that no franchisees had suffered contract termination as a result of harassment and abuse allegations.
The Business and Trade Committee chairman, Liam Byrne, asked McDonald’s CEO if “profit was more important than worker protection.”
Mr. Macrow stated categorically that this was not the case.
“The people of our business matter most.” We strive for citizen well-being,” he further stated.
A number of the more than two hundred current and former McDonald’s employees who discussed their employment at the fast-food chain claimed to have been victims of sexual abuse and harassment at the hands of superiors and coworkers.
Ed and Emily were both in attendance at the committee hearing that was held on Tuesday. Both individuals expressed that their perception was not reassured by Mr. Macrow’s statement.
Unsettling Incidents and Allegations at McDonald’s UK
Emily obtained her first post-college position at a McDonald’s in north west England when she was 17 years old. Her manager probed and struck her on the lower body. She filed a complaint with the staff support service of the company but never received a response.
McDonald’s and Mr. Macrow put profit before people, she believes.
She stated, “During my tenure at McDonald’s, it became abundantly clear that I was easily replaceable.” “I fully believe it is true that he prioritised profit over people, as I was terminated the moment I brought forth an allegation.”
Consequently, they would be better off firing me rather than investigating these allegations.
Mr. Macrow stated that the employees’ testimonies were “truly abhorrent” and “extremely distressing to bear witness to.”
He acknowledged that certain grievances that were directed to the independent handling unit of McDonald’s “date back to the 1980s” and further stated, “Obviously, we were able to conduct more thorough investigations into the more recent ones.”
At the start of this year, Ed commenced his employment at McDonald’s at the age of sixteen. According to him, a senior manager repeatedly solicited intimacy and made sexual insinuations. Despite his concerns being relayed to a senior manager, no action was taken.
In April, following months of harassment, he ultimately resigned.
Testimonies and Skepticism: Employees’ Perspectives
He stated that the revelation that McDonald’s had received over 400 complaints in the previous four months “was quite shocking and upsetting, and I believe it is damning evidence that McDonald’s needs to change.”
However, he continued: You should evaluate how many people have been afraid to complain and have failed to do so. Especially supervisors who will oversee their work schedules.
Who else is presently experiencing harassment or another adversity but is too afraid to come forward?
National president of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union Ian Hodson also testified before members of parliament, stating that certain accounts relayed to him by McDonald’s staff were “horrendous.”
“And it ought not to occur,” he continued. “In the 21st century, in the UK, it shouldn’t happen.”
It is abhorrent when a multinational corporation, which generates billions upon billions of pounds in revenue, is unable to safeguard its employees. It ought to serve as a model and a benchmark for others; however, it is not doing so.