Ex-McDonald's employee filing discrimination complaint

Worker alleges inappropriate touching, lewd comments and feeling stalked

Ex-McDonald's employee filing discrimination complaint

A former Saratoga McDonald’s employee is filing a discrimination complaint against the company, according to a report.

Kenia Chapas, 27, claimed that she was inappropriately touched, received lewd comments on the job and felt stalked while working at the fast-food restaurant, reported The Mercury News.

“After participating in a sexual harassment investigation, McDonald’s retaliated against me by reducing my hours and then terminating me,” Chapas said in the draft complaint, obtained by The Mercury News.

Read more: #MeToo’s impact on sexual harassment in the workplace

The sexual harassment started in January, when a male coworker started offering to buy gifts for her and her children, to give her money and buy her something nice for Valentine’s Day, according to Chapas. The coworker also touched Chapas’ arms and asked to see her hands while working, she said.

Chapas claimed she was initially polite to her coworker, but soon told him to stop spending money on her and her kids. However, the coworker persisted, and that made Chapas feel very uncomfortable.”

Once, Chapas asked a coworker to borrow some money. She soon found out that her alleged harasser told that friend that she would give Chapas the money if she went to a hotel with him. Chapas also claimed that her male coworker followed her to the bathroom and she felt like she was being stalked.

Chapas reported her coworker’s behavior to her shift manager in February. After that, however, her hours were cut by at least one hour per day, and when she asked for more hours, her request was denied, claimed Chapas.

Three weeks later, she was suspended from working for one week after allegedly taking too long on a 10-minute break. She was fired after she returned to work, and management cited her taking too long a break as reason for her termination.

Chapas is not the first one to complain about toxic behavior at the worksite. Earlier this year, two employees filed complaints with the San Jose Labor Commission alleging they were not paid sick leave. One of them was a breast cancer survivor who had been diagnosed with liver cancer, according to The Mercury News.

This comes as fast-food workers across California are speaking out against sexual harassment and other systemic issues in the industry in support of AB 257 or the FAST recovery act.

The bill would establish the Fast Food Sector Council within the Department of Industrial Relations. The council would establish sector-wide minimum standards on wages, working hours, and other working conditions related to the health, safety and welfare of fast food restaurant workers. The bill was last amended in the Senate on June 16 this year.

But sexual harassment cases are not limited to the fast-food business.

Earlier this month, Kevin Spacey lost his appeal to have a $31 million arbitration award overturned. This was in relation to him being removed from the Netflix series House of Cards following allegations he was “systematically preying upon, sexually harassing and groping young men that he had worked with throughout his career on film, television and theatre projects”.

Meanwhile, Vince McMahon, kingpin of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), paid four women at least $12 million total over the past 16 years to hide numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, claimed a Wall Street Journal report. 

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) files, on average, more than 7,000 sexual harassment allegations every year. In the fiscal year 2020, 6,587 sexual harassment private sector charges were filed with the EEOC, just 12% down from 2019, and on par with the number of charges filed annually from 2014-2017.

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