Seventeen Chicago McDonald’s workers have filed a lawsuit against the fast food chain, claiming that the company hasn’t done enough to prevent violence in the workplace.
The lawsuit says that McDonald’s has chosen profits over workplace safety and claims that employees “face a daily risk of violence while at work” and McDonald’s has been “negligent in failing to protect workers from this risk.”
The suit addresses the fast food chain’s split counters. It claims that the wide openings and lowered height makes it easier for customers to walk behind or jump on top of the counter to confront employees.
In one instance, the lawsuit claims, a customer jumped over the counter and pulled out a gun on workers. In another instance, a customer beat an employee over the head and back with a wet-floor sign.
“The plaintiffs are pursuing this case to address the systemic problem of violence affecting them and their co-workers every day,” Danny Rosenthal, the lead attorney in the lawsuit, said.
“McDonald’s has utterly failed to design stores that minimize the chance for violence,” he explained, adding that conversions to the new counter format should stop until security concerns are addressed. “McDonald’s has failed to provide even basic training that would help workers minimize conflict or respond appropriately when it occurs.”
Sonia Acuña, a McDonald’s worker and plaintiff in the suit said that police found a dead body in her store’s bathroom.
“McDonald’s never provided any safety training or offered any support for the trauma I’ve suffered,” she said. “We shouldn’t have to put ourselves in harm’s way just to support our families. That’s why we’re suing McDonald’s today – because it’s life or death for us.”
The lawsuit seeks an injunction, which would mean putting a stop to McDonald’s expensive renovations, which have cost the company billions of dollars.
McDonald’s said in a statement that it “takes seriously its responsibility to provide and foster a safe working environment for our employees, and along with our franchisees, continue to make investments in training programs that uphold safe environments for customers and crew members. In addition to training, McDonald’s maintains stringent policies against violence in our restaurants.”