Employers have a responsibility to to ensure that their workplace remains free of sexual harassment, through preventative measures and actionable consequences to address complaints. McDonald’s had to learn the hard way in a recent lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with a full-scale investigation that resulted a $1,997,500 fine. 

The ensuing investigation revealed that McDonalds (AMTCR Corporation) knew about sexual harassment claims and allowed it to continue unabated. It was being done by supervisors, managers, and co-workers at a host of McDonalds locations. Actions included frequent unwanted touching, offensive comments, unwelcome sexual advances, and intimidation. This caused employees to quit or suffer a Hostile Work Environment. 

The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace, and employers who don’t set the right examples, and thoroughly investigate and address complaints of sexual harassment, are at risk of facing legal consequences. Both the Federal EEOC and state organizations are available to pursue harassment claims and any employee can file at any time. 

Public awareness of employment rights has resulted in an increase in cases filed, and directly affects how many cases the EEOC is pursuing. The EEOC is currently increasing staff to address the 20% increase that took place in 2023. While it’s impossible to prevent every action of sexual harassment, measurements taken by employers to train their employees and managers on what constitutes as sexual harassment, as well as take steps to investigate and act on reports of sexual harassment, can be a simple and effective way to not only avoid lawsuits but to protect your employees and maintain a positive workplace. Managers and leaders representing the employer have an obligation to report and act on complaints, and company culture defined by leadership can create an inclusive and safe environment at work if managed correctly.

Power3 provides external/third party monitoring and investigations of harassment claims to ensure an independent and objective party can evaluate and decide on how to manage outcomes including remedial actions, training and other efforts to effectively address sexual harassment claims.  Power3 also uses our training platform to ensure companies don’t make this mistake, including training for all employees, and a specialized training for managers that includes downloadable policies and forms for reporting incidents. Go to our training courses and sign up to learn more about the laws, and what employers and employees can do to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment in their workplace.