Lawsuit Says McDonald’s Doesn’t Protect Workers From Violent Customers

Company says it has 'stringent policies'
November 24, 2019 Updated: November 24, 2019

McDonald’s was sued by several of its employees, who claim they face the threat of physical violence every day.

A group of employees in Chicago filed the lawsuit, saying the firm hasn’t protected them from the threat of violence. The 17 employees named in the lawsuit work at 13 different locations across the city.

The workers stated that Chicago police respond to more than 20 emergency 911 calls to the city’s McDonald’s locations on a daily basis, reported The Associated Press.

The employees also cited instances of sexual harassment and physical assault.

David Rosenthal, an attorney for the workers, told AP, “McDonald’s has failed, at a systemic level, to protect its workers from violence in the workplace. Throughout the country, McDonald’s workers are regularly threatened, assaulted, and injured by customers.”

The workers filing the suit also stated that McDonald’s doesn’t provide safety training for managers and employees. The chain also plasters windows with ads, reducing visibility from the outside, CBS News reported.

McDonalds sign.
File photo of a McDonald’s sign. (Joiarib Morales Uc/Unsplash)

“The incidents described in this complaint are not random or unforeseeable,” the suit said. “They are the result of choices made by McDonald’s that undermine safety.”

McDonald’s issued a statement to CBS about the suit.

The chain “takes seriously its responsibility to provide and foster a safe working environment for our employees, and along with our franchisees, continue to make investments in training programs that uphold safe environments for customers and crew members,” the company said. “In addition to training, McDonald’s maintains stringent policies against violence in our restaurants.”

But in one instance, according to McDonald’s worker Sonia Acuna, police found a dead body in her store’s bathroom in Chicago.

“McDonald’s never provided any safety training or offered any support for the trauma I’ve suffered,” she said, USA Today reported. “We shouldn’t have to put ourselves in harm’s way just to support our families. That’s why we’re suing McDonald’s today–because it’s life or death for us.”

The lawsuit also noted a series of incidents that occurred at a McDonald’s in the Roseland neighborhood. Three employees at the store claimed that the counters were lowered in April 2018, allowing customers to climb over the top to attack workers.

Customers also regularly threaten and verbally abuse employees. One customer also waved a gun at one of the employees, and a manager allegedly stated to the workers that they should throw hot oil from the fryer on customers if they feel threatened, according to the lawsuit.

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