Groping, slurs, managers on cocaine: More McDonald’s UK employees speak out against ‘toxic’ culture
Over 100 more McDonald’s employees in Britain have come out to tell their own sordid experiences while working for the fast-food giant, from being smacked in the bum to seeing managers dealing drugs and taking cocaine while at work.
The BBC earlier this week ran an expose about a toxic sludge of misogyny, sexual assault, racism and bullying permeating across many of McDonald’s fast-food restaurants across Britain.
The probe found workers as young as 17 claiming they were being groped and harassed almost routinely.
Now, more stories are surfacing.
“The environment was really toxic - I was constantly being asked inappropriate things by other, male, crew members,” Emily, who worked at McDonald’s branch in the North West, told BBC.
“At one point a manager groped me, and hit me on the bottom, and then laughed,” she said. She was only 17 then.
Emily said she told the manager to stop, and that she also reported him to the company’s staff support service. She did not get any reply, she said. Instead, a week after the incident, she was fired for “being rude to staff”.
Another employee, Caspar, who worked at a McDonald’s in the West of England, claimed that a manager tried to kiss him. He was, like Emily, also only 17 at the time.
Caspar said he “backed away”, but that the manager put his hand on the back of Caspar’s head, pulled it towards him and kissed him “on the lips”.
Other allegations made in the BBC investigation include an older female manager forcing a younger worker’s hand down her trousers, and punching, name-calling, slurs and sexual innuendos passed off as “banter”.
There was also a manager who was reported to have threatened a staff with a knife.
In the BBC’s prior report, one teenage employee in Cheshire alleged that a fellow worker who was 20 years older than her asked her to show her genitals and told her he wanted to make a “black and white baby” with her.
One crew member who was originally from Pakistan was called a “terrorist” by a colleague.
Lucy, who previously worked in Norwich, told the BBC: “There is a saying at McDonald’s, ‘tits on tills’ - boys in the kitchen, girls on the counter. The idea is to put attractive people at the front.”
McDonald’s has publicly apologised, and vowed to investigate all allegations brought to it.
“There are clearly instances where we have fallen short and for that we deeply apologise,” Mr Alistair Macrow, chief executive of McDonald’s UK & Ireland said in a statement given to the BBC.
McDonald’s has over 170,000 workers in Britain across 1,450 restaurants. It has one of the youngest workforces in the country, with 75 per cent of its employees being between 16 and 25 years old.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has described the allegations as “deeply concerning”.
Ms Caroline Nokes, chair of Parliament’s women and equalities select committee, said the claims were “horrific and were about power… older managers exploiting what is, at McDonald’s, a very young workforce”.
Baroness Kishwer Falkner, head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “There should be zero tolerance of sexual harassment in every organisation.”