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Myrtle Beach, Durham McDonald’s workers part of national sexual harassment complaints

Protesters call for sexual harassment protection outside Durham McDonald’s

Protesters with the group Raise Up for $15 rallied outside at a McDonald’s on Hillsborough Road in Durham. The demonstrators advocated for a higher minimum wage and demanded the fast food chain address sexual harassment claims.
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Protesters with the group Raise Up for $15 rallied outside at a McDonald’s on Hillsborough Road in Durham. The demonstrators advocated for a higher minimum wage and demanded the fast food chain address sexual harassment claims.

Two fast food employees in the Carolinas say they faced ongoing and pervasive sexual harassment at McDonald’s.

The two employees — one from Myrtle Beach, S.C. and another from Durham, N.C. — are among 25 workers nationwide who announced complaints against the fast food giant during a Tuesday protest in Chicago.

The Sun News reached out to officials at McDonald’s about the complaints, but they did not respond.

The Chicago Tribune reports that McDonald’s has implemented a new hotline for anonymous reports and has increased employee training programs. The fast-food company now faces 50 complaints of sexual harassment, the Tribune reports.

The company’s CEO Steve Easterbrook has said McDonald’s is working with Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) to improve its policies to define and address unacceptable behavior in the workplace, to implement new training materials and how employees can report harassment.

Myrtle Beach complaint

A Myrtle Beach woman says McDonald’s blocked her promotion after she complained about sexual harassment. Her claims were detailed in a South Carolina Human Affairs Commission complaint that was provided to The Sun News.

The employee says she started work in October 2017, at the 38th Avenue North McDonald’s, where she said she was subject to “sexually explicit language” and “sexually harassing behavior,” according to the complaint.

The Sun News does not typically name the victims of sexual harassment.

As the employee was under consideration for a manager-in-training program, she says the general manager brushed his hand against her behind and would find other excuses to touch her, according to the report.

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The manager started to send text messages, which became more explicit, the complaint states. He also asked the worker to send a picture of her chest.

After the employee asked him to stop, the manager’s attitude changed, and threats were made to remove the worker from the manager-in-training program. The manager said an area supervisor told him to kick the woman out of the training program because she refused to work weekends.

The woman told other supervisors about the harassment, and the area supervisor said he never told the manager to remove her from the program, the complaint states.

In September 2018, the woman was transferred to another store, which the employee says was dirtier and in a less desirable part of town.

Eventually, the woman was transferred back to the 38th Avenue store and completed the requirements for promotion.

She was then told there were additional requirements, which the employee believed was an effort to deny her the promotion and raise because of her complaints.

When the eatery learned the woman contacted an attorney to help with her complaint, she was fired, according to a news release.

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Durham complaint

A 42-year-old woman started work at the Hillsborough Road McDonald’s in July 2018, according to her complaint. The complaint was filed with the Raleigh, N.C. branch of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and also provided to The Sun News.

The woman said she faced repeated sexual harassment by employees and managers.

She detailed an incident where an employee exposed his genitals and another where a co-worker rubbed against her, according to her complaint.

The employee said she didn’t initially report the harassment because she didn’t feel McDonald’s would take it seriously, according to the complaint.

The woman reported the conduct to a shift manager, who continued to make explicit comments and showed the victim his genitals, the complaint states. Ultimately, the woman reported the harassment to McDonald’s but says the employees causing the problems still work for the company.

“I feel like McDonald’s does not care about the safety of its employees,” the woman wrote, “and to keep having to re-live the harassment that I experienced.”

In retaliation, the woman said she was not paid for her overtime work and had her hours changed, according to her complaint.

Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.

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