A group of Chicago-based McDonald's employees is suing the fast food giant over what they define as "a citywide and nationwide pattern" of violence.
According to the court documents filed in Illinois state court by 17 McDonald's workers, the management has chosen profit over workers' safety. The lawsuit also claimed that employees "face a daily risk of violence while at work."
The plaintiffs also added that McDonald's failed to protect its team members from this risk. They also pointed to high rates of 911 calls from Chicago McDonald's premises with more than 20 calls per day.
Among the incidents outlined in the complaint are customers who pulled a gun on workers, another one beating an employee over the head, and a customer urinating on a worker.
According to Danny Rosenthal, the leading attorney in the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are bringing the case to court to raise awareness and to address the systematic negligence of violence in McDonald's restaurants.
Rosenthal also asserted that although 90% of the McDonald's locations are franchise-owned, the focus of the lawsuit is on the food giant as it owns the buildings and sets the standards for store design and personnel training.
In Rosenthal's view, McDonald's failed to design secure stores to minimize violence. He also pointed out that the company lacks adequate training programs to help employees reduce conflict at work or handle it accordingly when it occurs.
The May 2019 report from the National Employment Law Project also mentioned most of the lawsuit's claims highlighting that McDonald failed to secure a safe work environment for its employees.
McDonald's long hours of operations also contributed to the problem, the researchers noted, referring to the increased levels of violence associated with late-night retail.
In addition to that, the National Employment Law Project counted 721 local media reports of violence at McDonald's restaurants nationwide in the past three years. Most of them involved firearms, the researchers asserted.
After the wave of criticism over workplace safety issues, McDonald's announced in August that it would roll out a new training program for restaurant workers and supervisors in October.
McDonald's said it would train 850,000 US restaurant workers like cooks and cashiers how to diffuse violent situations with customers, how to mitigate bullying and sexual harassment, and how to report a harassment complaint.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the statement of McDonald's workers that they do not work in a safe environment?