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Across California, McDonald's workers stage harassment strike

Another high-profile strike recently joined the growing number of major demonstrations in the #metoo movement. People are standing up against a work culture that encourages or tolerates inappropriate touching, sexual propositions and other forms of offensive behavior. McDonald's workers in California — and all across the country — recently walked out in protest of sexual harassment in the workplace. 

The McDonald's walkout could be taken as evidence of a growing consensus that everyone has the right to a civil, safe and professional work environment, regardless of income level, gender or any other demographic attribute. 

Restaurants in San Francisco and Los Angeles participated in the nationwide strike. Each location approached the protest differently, but there was a solidarity of purpose: to establish effective policies for the prevention of sexual harassment.

McDonald's spokespeople issued a statement to the effect that the company has policies and practices in place to curb inappropriate behavior and civil rights violations. It is apparent from the extent of these protests, which spanned the country from L.A. to Miami, that the current bylaws are largely ineffective from many workers' perspectives. 

There are estimates that close to half of all workers in quick-service restaurants report sexual harassment. This figure is similar to that of the media industry: the white-collar industry that a Center for Talent Innovation survey shows to have the highest reported incidence of the problem. 

Every effort toward progress has the potential to make a difference in this type of large-scale cultural shift. A nationwide strike might not be the answer for every situation. Apart from joining public protests, it could also be possible to effect direct change by pursuing legal claims of sexual harassment against employers.

Source: Time, "Inspired by #MeToo, McDonald's Employees Protest Workplace Sexual Harassment," Casey Quackenbush, September 19, 2018

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