The boss of McDonald’s in the UK has apologised after more than 100 workers at the fast food chain, past and present, alleged they had been sexually harassed or assaulted or subjected to racism or bullying.
Alistair Macrow told the BBC the company had “fallen short” in some cases after the corporation spoke to dozens of workers.
It comes four years after 1,000 women reported they had been subjected to sexual harassment and abuse while working at McDonald’s restaurants, according to the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union.
Both say that managers failed to act on some complaints, and that predatory employees were moved to different McDonald’s sites rather than being fired.
In a story which follows months of investigations by the BBC, the corporation revealed on Tuesday that a worker in his late 30s had called a 17-year-old colleague a racial slur and asked to show her his penis.
Another 17-year-old girl said a senior manager had choked her and grabbed her bottom.
They are just some of the claims from dozens of people to whom the broadcaster has spoken since February when McDonald’s signed an agreement with the equality watchdog to improve how it handles sexual harassment allegations.
McDonald’s UK and Ireland chief executive Mr Macrow said: “Every one of the 177,000 employees in McDonald’s UK deserves to work in a safe, respectful and inclusive workplace.
“There are clearly instances where we have fallen short and for that we deeply apologise.
“There is simply no place for harassment, abuse, or discrimination of any kind at McDonald’s, and we will investigate all allegations brought to us, and all proven breaches of our code of conduct will be met with the most severe measures we can legally impose, up to and including dismissal.
“In February this year McDonald’s UK committed with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to a zero-tolerance approach to any kind of harassment.
“This is supported by a companywide programme of training, the roll out of new policies and strict reporting processes, all aimed at offering the highest possible level of workplace protection for all our employees.”
August Graham – Press Association