#TimesUp Takes On Walmart, McDonald’s For Ignoring Harassment Claims

Time's Up is helping working women who are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, and Walmart and McDonald's are the first ones to be targeted.

Time’s Up, the legal defense fund run by the National Women’s Law Center and backed by Hollywood heavyweights, such as Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, has announced that they are going after Walmart and McDonald’s, two of the largest employers in the United States, over sexual harassment reports.

At least 10 charges of sexual harassment in the workplace were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against McDonald’s. The charges come from nine different cities, including Los Angeles and Detroit.

Breauna Morrow, a 15-year-old cashier in St. Louis, is one of the accusers. She said she complained to her bosses about a co-worker who repeatedly sexually harassed her, and yet, nothing was done.  

In another case, an unnamed female worker in Chicago claimed that her manager told her his “lurid fantasies” about what he wanted to do to her after asking her if she wanted to see his penis. When she reported the harassment, she was fired.

The organization pushing for a higher minimum wage, Fight for $15, has joined forces with Time’s Up to help McDonald’s victims.

The fund is also involved in a lawsuit against Walmart.

Gina Pitre, a former employee of the retail giant, said that her manager made “unwelcomed sexual comments [and] unwelcomed requests for text pictures” while she worked at a Mississippi location.

“For more than a year, my manager at Walmart repeatedly sexually harassed me while I was on the job,” she said in a statement. “I tried to tell the company what was happening, but Walmart did nothing to hold the harasser accountable or keep me safe.”

The company, which is the country’s largest corporate employer of women, responded through its spokesman Randy Hargrove, saying that it “could not find sufficient evidence to substantiate a violation of our discrimination and harassment policy.”

To women who are finally obtaining the help they need to speak out against their abusers, filing these complaints and lawsuits is about helping others like them.

Morrow said that her time spent working for McDonald’s was traumatizing.

“McDonald’s advertises all over television saying it’s ‘America’s best first job,’ but my experience has been a nightmare,” she said in a statement. “I know I’m not the only one and that’s why I’m speaking out, so others don’t have to face the harassment I’ve gone through.”

Pitre also said she wants her story to serve as an inspiration for others to report their abusers.

“I’m speaking up for justice for myself and so that no woman has to experience what I went through at Walmart or in any job,” Pitre said. “Time is up for sexual harassment and for companies that won’t take action to protect their employees.”

It’s been a long time coming for victims of abuse from all walks of life. As such, it’s incredibly inspiring to see that powerhouses like Time’s Up are striving to help working women.

As we have learned with the #MeToo movement, abuse happens everywhere. It’s refreshing to finally see victims get the support they deserve.

 Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters/Paulo Whitaker, David Mdzinarishvil

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