Detroit — A former McDonald's employee who filed a class-action lawsuit against the company and one of its Michigan franchisees said she endured daily harassment. Jenna Ries is hoping that the company will crack down on what's being called a "systemic problem" of sexual harassment.
In an exclusive TV interview with CBS News, Ries said she had to force herself to go to work every day at a McDonald's franchise in Mason, Michigan, where from 2017 to 2019, Ries said she endured daily harassment. Her lawsuit alleges a co-worker "frequently grabbed her body parts, including her crotch, breasts and buttocks."
"I was called, like, a b---h and a slut and a whore. All kinds of things. I was constantly in fear of losing my job," Ries said.
Ries' allegations are the latest in a series of sexual harassment complaints levied at McDonald's, with the company facing more than 50 complaints and lawsuits from workers around the country. Ries' lawsuit said it's indicative of a "sexually hostile work environment" and the "company culture that enables it."
Ries said she complained to the restaurant's general managers on multiple occasions but was ignored. Finally in March of this year, she quit.
"He came up to me and he put his privates in my hand," she said. "Just through his pants. Like, that was kind of enough for me."
In an email, McDonald's said it is committed to a "safe and respectful workplace." The franchise owner did not respond to a request for comment.
In June, the company began offering a reporting hotline, enhanced its policies against discrimination, harassment and retaliation and introduced new training. But franchisees, who own 95% of McDonald's U.S. restaurants, aren't required to offer this training.
Earlier this month, the company fired CEO Steve Easterbrook for having a romantic relationship with a subordinate.
"Jenna Ries is just as valuable and the Jenna Ries's of their corporation should be valued as much as the CEO," said Mary Joyce Carlson, a labor lawyer representing women suing McDonald's.