Mcdonald’s Makes A Legally Binding Pledge To Protect Staff Against Sexual Harassment
Key Contact: Claire Knowles
Author: Laura Spence
The popular fast food chain McDonald’s has signed a binding agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHCR) in response to concerns about the handling of sexual harassment complaints made by staff. This has come following many allegations of staff from UK restaurants over the course of several years. As an employer, McDonalds have been unable to effectively handle this issue internally.
This is not the first time we have seen a big name struggle to handle sexual harassment in the workplace, McDonald’s follow mainstream supermarket Sainsburys in their pledge to crack down on this issue in the same way.
The agreement McDonald’s have entered into is known as a Section 23 Agreement under the Equality Act. This provides for the EHRC to enter into an agreement with an organisation if it thinks it has committed an unlawful act.
Under the Agreement, McDonald’s have committed to:
- Communicating a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment
- Conducting an anonymous survey of workers about workplace safety
- Enforcing policies and procedures to prevent sexual harassment and improve responses to complaints
- Delivering anti-harassment training for employees
- Introducing specific training and materials to help managers identify areas of risk within their restaurants and take steps to prevent sexual harassment
- Supporting the uptake of policy and training materials by franchisees
- Monitoring progress towards a safe, respectful, and inclusive working environment
McDonald’s commitment to protecting their staff from sexual harassment is undoubtedly setting a good precedent for other employers to follow. The EHRC’s Chair Lady Falkner said, “we are pleased that McDonald’s have signed this agreement… the improvements they put in place can set an example for others to follow, whether in the hospitality industry or elsewhere.”
Although entering into a Section 23 Agreement may be more appropriate for larger organisations, others should be taking away that effectively addressing complaints of sexual harassment is essential. Accordingly, employers would benefit from taking this opportunity to reflect on internal policies and the level of training provided to employees and managers.
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