LONDON: McDonald’s has apologized after reports of allegations of sexual misconduct, racism and bullying by staff at the fast-food giant in the United Kingdom.
More than 100 former and current workers of the company made allegations of routine sexual harassment, racism at xenophobia at the workplace.
The investigative report was filed by the British state broadcaster BBC which began investigating the matter in February. “Multiple workers told us that McDonald’s managers at the outlets across the UK were responsible for the harassment and assaults,” the report said. “All too often, senior managers are said to have failed to act on complaints.”
The investigation came after McDonald’s signed a legally-binding agreement with the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), pledging to protect staff from sexual harassment.
“Every one of the 177,000 employees in McDonald’s UK deserves to work in a safe, respectful and inclusive workplace,” its UK chief executive Alistair Macrow said in response to the allegations. “There are clearly instances where we have fallen short and for that, we deeply apologize.”
He added that “all proven breaches of our code of conduct will be met with the most severe measures we can legally impose, up to and including dismissal”.
The EHRC said it was “concerned” by the allegations, which it would examine “in the context of our current legal agreement with McDonald’s to tackle sexual harassment of staff in its restaurants”.
McDonald’s staff is one of the UK’s youngest workforces, with three quarters aged between 16 and 25. The report said that workers, some as young as 17, are being groped and harassed almost routinely.