Skip to main content

McDonald's investigating 27 sexual harassment complaints by staff, MPs told

​​​​​McDONALD’s receives one or two complaints of sexual harassment a week and is currently investigating 27 cases, its boss in Britain told MPs today.

Alistair Macrow appeared before the business & trade select committee after hundreds of allegations of harassment were uncovered by the BBC.

He said the restaurant chain had fired 18 workers, received 407 employee complaints and investigated 157 after he set up a unit to deal with complaints after the exposé in July.

“We typically would see between 20 and 25 contacts per week, of which one or two are sexual harassment, across the organisation,” he said.

Of the 157 complaints that have been looked into, Mr Macrow said 17 were about sexual harassment and had led to disciplinary action.

Nine related to bullying and one was about racial harassment, with 27 complaints of sexual harassment yet to be probed.

McDonald’s employs more than 170,000 people, three quarters of whom are age 16 to 25, and is 89 per cent run by franchisees.

MPs heard that none had lost their contracts due to claims of harassment and abuse.

Mr Macrow denied that “profit was more important than protecting workers” and revealed its unit was dealing with complaints that stretch back as far as the 1980s.

Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union president Ian Hodson told the committee that some stories it had been told by members who work at the burger chain were “absolutely horrific.”

“The feedback we are getting is that nothing has changed.

“There is a tick-box system that has been put in play, a video about how things are supposed to happen.

“For every worker we spoke to, they raised the issues of the toxic culture inside McDonald’s. It was common,” he said.

“It is very difficult to give you a hard number [of claims] because [McDonald’s] have a history of paying off when they have issues in front of them, of non-disclosure agreements.

“When people raise their grievances, they are encouraged to not go forward with the grievance, as otherwise they will see their hours cut.”

Kiran Daurka, a partner in lawyers’ Leigh Day employment team, which last week launched a group lawsuit against the firm, said McDonald’s has faced relatively few employment tribunal cases for the number of complaints.


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.



Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 10,353
We need:£ 7,647
11 Days remaining
Donate today