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Duckworth Pushes McDonald's Again On Sexual Harassment Policies

#MeToo McDonald's sign at a protest
Richard Vogel
/
AP
McDonald's workers carry a banner and march towards a McDonald's in south Los Angeles in 2018.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth said Wednesday that new sexual harassment policies at McDonald’s don’t go far enough because franchise locations are not required to follow them.

Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois, and seven other senators sent a letter to McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook this week about the issue. They said “it is imperative that the McDonald’s Corp. require all franchise locations to adopt the updated policies to guarantee that all workers will be covered by the new protections and support services.”

Speaking on GLT’s Sound Ideas, Duckworth said “great that they’re updating their corporate policies for their corporate-owned stores, but it doesn’t apply to the vast majority of their locations.”

“They have the legal authority to tell them how many pickles to put on a hamburger,” Duckworth told GLT. “I would think they’d have the legal authority to tell them not to allow sexual harassment at their stores.”

Dozens of McDonald’s workers have made sexual harassment complaints, alleging everything from lewd comments and groping to retaliation. The number of such complaints filed against McDonald's over the last three years now totals over 50, NPR reported in May.

McDonald's says it has strengthened its sexual harassment policy, offering training and an anonymous tip line for employees to report. In a statement, the company said it is committed to providing a "safe and respectful work environment" for its workers.

The National Franchise Leadership Alliance, which represents McDonald’s franchisees, said in a statement that it takes “seriously our responsibility to ensure that individuals who report harassment or retaliation are heard and protected.”

Duckworth said she plans to meet Thursday with Robert Gibbs, the former Obama White House press secretary who is now an executive at McDonald’s.

tammy_duckworth_long_.mp3
Sen. Duckworth Full Interview

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Ryan Denham is the content director for WGLT and WCBU.