McDonald's faces new complaints related to handling of sexual harassment cases

Key Points
  • The Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, American Civil Liberties Union and Fight for $15 files 23 new complaints against McDonald's for its handling of sexual harassment cases.
  • The company employs roughly 850,000 people across its 14,000 American stores.
  • CEO Steve Easterbrook says in a letter that the company has been working with RAINN to improve its policies and training.
McDonald's employees and other fast food chain workers protest against sexual harassment in the workplace on September 18, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.
Joshua Lott | AFP | Getty Images

McDonald's is facing a new wave of complaints about how it handles sexual harassment in its restaurants.

The Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union and fast-food workers coalition Fight for $15 said Tuesday that they have filed 23 new complaints against the fast-food giant.

In a letter to McDonald's top executives, Time's Up said that the company had failed to adequately respond to sexual harassment complaints against McDonald's from female employees, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a year ago. So on Tuesday, more employees filed additional complaints against the company for incidents involving harassment, abuse and retaliation.

The New York Times first reported the new complaints.

Twenty of the complaints were sent to the EEOC. The remaining three were filed as civil rights lawsuits, and two additional suits from previous complaints were also filed, The New York Times reported.

The fast-food giant has about 14,000 locations across North America, employing 850,000 people. Roughly 90% to 95% of those restaurants are operated by franchisees, not the corporation.

McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook outlined in a letter viewed by CNBC the steps that the company has taken to address sexual harassment, abuse and retaliation. Last year, the company began working with RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, according to the letter. Through the program with RAINN, McDonald's has enhanced its policy to inform its employees better about their rights and more clearly define sexual harassment, abuse and retaliation.

"By strengthening our overall policy, creating interactive training, a third-party managed anonymous hotline and importantly, listening to employees across the system, McDonald's is sending a clear message that we are committed to creating and sustaining a culture of trust where employees feel safe, valued and respected," Easterbrook wrote in the letter.

McDonald's shares, which have a market value of $153.8 billion, have been trading near all-time highs of late. The stock was recently up less than 1% after briefly setting a new high of $201.15 earlier Tuesday.

Read the full story in The New York Times here.