In May, the Fight for $15 campaign and the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund teamed up to help 10 women from cities across America - one of whom is just 15 years old - lodge complaints against the fast-food giant with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Workers in nine cities described situations where cooks and cashiers were subjected to unwanted advances by superiors that included lewd sexual comments and requests for sex in bathrooms and cars.
In St. Louis, one teenage accuser said an older male employee told her she had a "nice body" and asked, "Have you ever had white chocolate inside you?" the National Women's Law Center said in a news release earlier this year.
On Tuesday Harrell and hundreds of other McDonald's workers will protest outside the fast-food giant's restaurants in 10 cities across the U.S., highlighting what they claim is an epidemic of sexual harassment for workers that they say the company has done little to address. The women are demanding policies and procedures to prevent and educate about sexual harassment, as well as a safety hotline and a zero tolerance policy for harassment. Harrell says she is still dealing with the impact of her experience at McDonald's.
Plans for the walkout - to start at lunchtime on September 18 - have been approved in recent days by "women's committees" formed by employees at dozens of McDonald's restaurants across the U.S. Lead organizers include several women who filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in May alleging pervasive harassment at some of McDonald's franchise restaurants. She described what she went through at work.
"It's sad that we have to walk off the job in order to be treated with respect at McDonald's, but we're not going to stay quiet while the company ignores the harassment we're facing", Harrell said in a statement.
The complaints named both McDonald's franchisees and the company itself.
However, when she reported the incident her "supervisors did nothing".
"It made me feel uncomfortable, embarrassed and afraid at work", she stated.
We've talked a lot about the effects of the #MeToo Movement in the entertainment industry, in politics, and in tech, but of course, those aren't the only industries where sexual harassment and discrimination run rampant.
Tanya Harrell of New Orleans filed a complaint with the EEOC in May. Now, fast food employees are challenging the toxic climate in their workplace.