McDonald's workers sue company for failing to protect workplace violence

After repeated complaints, 17 McDonald's employees in Chicago filed a lawsuit alleging that the company's renovated stores made them more vulnerable to attacks from customers

A group of employees of McDonald's sued the company along with several of its franchises on Thursday in Chicago alleging that the fast-food chain has failed to protect violence in the workplace.

What are the charges?

McDonald's employees have been trying to voice their concern over safety and security lately after a spate of attacks by customers and their growing misbehaviour. The lawsuit alleges that McDonald's and its franchises show no intent in protecting its employees and has extended work hours, has designed stores in such a way that makes employees vulnerable and has provided insufficient security training program.

What made them file the lawsuit?

McDonald's Pixabay

The American fast-food giant has lately been criticized for its work policy and store design. In recent times, in isolated incidents, employees have been physically assaulted inside the stores like beaten with a wet floor sign, pepper-sprayed, threatened by guns and even urinated on.

Moreover, employees have said that one of the store counters in Chicago is designed in a pattern that gives easy access to customers thus making its employees more vulnerable to attacks.

Rate of attacks escalates

After years of declining sales, McDonald's as a part of its turnaround plan in 2017 announced that it would revamp all its 14,000 stores across the United States, aided by a $6 billion investment by its franchises, to give its customers a new experience. Last year, the fast-food giant said that renovation at 9,000 stores were complete. The renovated stores now have counters that are low in height and give easy access to unruly customers to attack employees.

McDonald's Instagram

Since then the rate of violence to has escalated. Earlier this year, McDonald's employees had complained to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration to probe into the kind of violence that took place in the stores. According to CNBC, 911 on average receives 20 complaints daily from McDonald's outlets in Chicago.

McDonald's mired in controversy

McDonald's is one of many companies in recent times to have been experiencing sour employer-employee relationship. The company in May announced that it has introduced a new safety training program for its employees by the lawsuit alleges that they are yet to receive any training.

The lawsuit further damages the image of the company and comes just two weeks after the fast-food chain fired its CEO Steve Easterbrook for having "consensual relationship with an employee", citing reasons that it violated the company's policy.