McDonald's Will Mandate Anti-Harassment Training For All Employees

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 26, 2021

McDonald's will require two million employees at its 39,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries to undergo anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training, beginning January 1, 2022. Company-owned restaurants, as well as franchisees, also must collect feedback on their work environments from employees and managers and share those findings with their staff.

At least 50 workers have filed charges against the world's largest hamburger chain in the last five years claiming physical and verbal harassment plus illegal retaliation in some cases - such as scheduling employees for fewer shifts or transferring them to other locations when they complained.

The company launched an investigation into its HR department last year amid allegations of possible misconduct relating to the behavior of former CEO Steve Easterbrook. McDonald's had fired Easterbrook in 2019 for engaging in a relationship with an employee and lying about the extent of his past relationships with employees.

"There are no short cuts to ensuring that people feel safe, respected and included at a McDonald's restaurant. This work starts by taking big intentional moves," said the company's current President and CEO Chris Kempczinski in a statement. "Our new Global Brand Standards reinforce our commitment to living our values such that at every interaction, everyone is welcome, comfortable and safe."

Kempczinski noted that staff training is especially important because employee turnover in restaurants can be quite high.

The new standards prioritize actions in the following areas:

  • Harassment;
  • Discrimination;
  • Retaliation prevention;
  • Workplace violence prevention;
  • Employee feedback; and
  • Health and safety.

McDonald's already had a hotline for employees to report problems and previously had a training program in place for its US workers. But the company did not require franchisees to provide training (93% of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned by franchisees).