The EEOC filed suit on behalf of a class of women it said were subjected to sexual comments, sexual propositions, or physical touching by co-workers, according to a press release. The suit also alleges that some of the women were fired in retaliation for complaining about the sexually hostile work environment and that the harassment was so intolerable that at least one woman was forced to quit her job to avoid it.
John Rowe, director of EEOC’s Chicago District, which includes Wisconsin, noted that the agency’s administrative investigation, which preceded the lawsuit, revealed that male employees at the Reedsburg McDonald’s made sexual comments about the bodies of female co-workers, propositioned them, and touched them inappropriately. Further, Rowe said, several of the victims were teenaged high school students.
“One of the distressing things is how young some of the victims appear to have been,” said Rowe, in the announcement. “Another is that some of the employees who complained about what was going on were allegedly either fired or ignored. It’s cause for considerable concern, especially at a business which employs so many young and vulnerable women.”
The EEOC’s lawsuit stems from discrimination charges filed by three former employees of the McDonald’s restaurant located at 1500 Main Street in Reedsburg. In total, Missoula Mac owns and operates 42 McDonald’s restaurants in Wisconsin.
John Hendrickson, EEOC regional attorney for the Chicago District said: “McDonald’s is one of the most well-known brands in America and the world, and its image is one of complete reliability, good taste and wholesomeness. What we found was allegedly going on at the McDonald’s in Reedsburg was something completely different and illegal.”