McDonald's franchises are to be closed due to allegations of abuse

a McDonald's location

If McDonald's branches "are not complying with labor law," franchise agreements should be terminated, according to the chair of the Business and Trade Committee.

The allegations of sexual assault, harassment, racism, and bullying made by current and former UK employees of the fast food chain were described by MP Darren Jones as "some of the most appalling" he had ever seen.

According to a BBC investigation, workers, some as young as 17, are routinely harassed and groped.

McDonald's has expressed "deep regret.".

The colossus of fast food acknowledged that it had "fallen short.".

Following the company's signing of a legally binding agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in which it promised to protect employees from sexual harassment, the BBC started looking into the working conditions at McDonald's in February.

McDonald's claimed to have a "strong track record in this area" at the time, but the investigation painted a different picture, with more than 100 claims of sexual assault, harassment, racism, and homophobia made by McDonald's employees in the previous five months.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesperson called the allegations "deeply concerning.".

Since McDonald's operates under a franchise system, which permits individual operators to run the restaurants and hire the staff, the majority of employees are not directly employed by the company.

One of the biggest employers in the private sector in the UK is McDonald's. More than 170,000 people are employed by the massive fast food chain's 1,450 restaurants.

The fast food chain must respond to inquiries about how employment laws are being followed in its franchises and whether such policies are in its contracts with neighborhood restaurants, said Mr. Jones, a Labour MP, on the BBC's Today program.

He added, "I'm sure they go in and check the quality of their burgers, whether their marketing standards have been properly implemented, and whether customers are satisfied with the quality of their milkshakes.

"But it sounds like they aren't going in there and talking to the staff and making sure they are being treated fairly and in accordance with the law. ".

According to a McDonald's spokesperson, franchisees are required to sign an agreement that includes a clause requiring them to adhere to UK law.

If they don't adhere to these standards, our franchise agreement has termination clauses, he explained.

To ensure that restaurants are run in accordance with UK law in a way that creates a safe, respectful, and inclusive workplace, we specifically include People Brand Standards within our standards. This includes regular training and monitoring on prevention of harassment, discrimination, and workplace violence. ".

Employees at various McDonald's locations in the UK claimed to the BBC that managers there were behind the harassment and assaults.

When Shelby began working at a McDonald's in Berkshire last year, she was only 16 years old. She claimed that older male coworkers would use the kitchen's crowded design as an excuse to inappropriately touch junior female staff members.

She said, "They'd grope stomachs, waists, and bums. Every shift I worked, I would at least hear a remark, have a hand brush across me, or experience something more severe, like having my bum or hips grabbed. ".

The 20-year-old Emily continued, "It's the expectation that you will be harassed if you work at McDonald's.". She left her branch in Brighton last year after becoming uncomfortable with a male coworker in his 60s who kept touching her hair in a suggestive manner.

The allegations made by the workers against McDonald's locations were called "horrific" by Caroline Nokes, chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee. " .

"Like so many other instances, this is about power as well as sex. It involves older managers taking advantage of McDonald's extremely young workforce, according to the Conservative MP.

The allegations, according to Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, are "yet another shocking illustration of the pervasive problem of workplace harassment.".

She continued, "It is essential that McDonalds and employment watchdogs properly investigate them.

The government is being urged by Ms. Hobhouse to support her Worker Protection Bill, which, if it becomes law, would hold employers accountable for combating sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • Please report it:. According to the charity Victim Support, you can inform your manager, an HR representative, or your union, and they will take appropriate action.
  • Keep a record of:. Include the dates, times, and specifics of what occurred along with any pertinent emails. These might be useful if you decide to file a report.
  • Get aid:. A free and private live chat service and 24-hour helpline are run by Victim Support. Use the live chat feature at victimsupport . org . uk/live-chat or call 0808 16 89 111.
  • Make a police call:. You should contact the police by dialing 101 if sexual harassment turns into violence, threats, or sexual assault. Call 999 if you are in danger.

More than 2,000 managers have completed full awareness training, according to Alistair Macrow, chief executive of McDonald's UK and Ireland, and most restaurant teams are now operating under the new protections that are intended to create "a safe and respectful workplace.".

Mr. Jones disagreed, stating that while it was "all well and good McDonald's saying that they have provisions in their franchise agreement, but clearly these abuses have been able to take place in multiple places over many, many years," these provisions were not enforced.

Managers who "get away with this behavior," he claimed. Dot must commit the crime in part because they are aware that they can get away with it, and it is McDonald's duty to ensure that this cannot continue.

The provides information and support if any of the problems in this story have affected you. Action Line at BBC.

If you are willing to speak with a BBC journalist, kindly provide a phone number. The following methods of communication are also available:.

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