Eligible employees at the Mason, MI, location will receive compensation averaging $10,000 per person.
Workers at a single Michigan McDonald’s restaurant have won a $1.5 million sexual harassment settlement.
According to WILX.com, individual plaintiffs in the class action will be eligible to receive compensation averaging $10,000 per person, with awards varying with the extent of harassment suffered.
WILX reports that the lawsuit was first filed in November 2019 by former McDonald’s employee Jenna Ries.
While McDonald’s denied wrongdoing, a judge ruled in December that the lawsuit could proceed as a certified class action.
The decision, says WILX, was made based upon evidence showing the “consistency, frequency, severity, and visibility” of harassment.
“No one should have to put up with sexual harassment to get a paycheck,” Ries told WILX. “I filed this lawsuit because I didn’t want other women to go through what I did while working at McDonald’s. I hope those who were abused will get the compensation they deserve, but I also hope McDonald’s will listen to survivors, and do everything possible to prevent sexual harassment in restaurants.”
The lawsuit said that one McDonald’s manager sexually harassed many employees at the Mason, McDonald’s restaurant.
Ries, for instance, said that he manager frequently propositioned her for sex and used degrading, offensive terms to describe her front of coworkers.
This harassment, said the complaint, often occurred in front of the store’s general manager, who never initiated concrete disciplinary action.
Three other former McDonald’s employees joined Ries in the lawsuit.
Once news of the case went public, another 20 women submitted sworn statements saying they had been harassed or witnessed harassment at the same location.
However, American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Right Project attorney Gillian Thomas said that, while the settlement is a victory for the Mason employees, it is not as far-reaching as they had hoped.
“While this settlement is a win for dozens of Mason McDonald’s workers who claimed egregious harassment it, unfortunately, doesn’t go as far as we would have hoped, because McDonald’s corporate wasn’t at the table,” Thomas said.
McDonald’s corporate, says WILX, was originally listed as a defendant in the lawsuit. However, the company was released from liability because it did not directly employ the manager at the Mason location, which is a franchised property.
Darcie Brault, another attorney for the Mason-based plaintiffs, told WILX it is unfortunate that McDonald’s continues to evade accountability in sexual harassment litigation.
“If McDonald’s accepted responsibility for the well-being of the nearly one-million people who work under the Golden Arches, it would protect countless workers from harassment and violence,” Brault said. “It is unconscionable that McDonald’s continues to say ‘not it’ when it comes to sexual harassment of workers at its franchise locations.”