Like a paradox? On the one hand, McDonald’s France likes to praise its universalism and “respect for everyone” as the cardinal values of its brand. But on the other, according to an association of employees, the American company would have dismissed employees guilty of having denounced the harassment of which they are victims. On Friday, the McDroits collective announced, in a press release, “Of his deep indignation” after the dismissal of Mathilde, a former staff member of the restaurant at Le Havre station. A dismissal deemed abusive when the latter had denounced in recent months the moral and sexual harassment of which she was a victim. “This is a very worrying signal and a serious impairment […] to the protection of whistleblowers and victims of sexual harassment within the brand “, consider members of the collective.
It all started on October 24, when about fifteen employees of a McDonald’s in Le Havre demonstrated to express their fed-up with the moral and sexual harassment they suffered. For several weeks, a manager and an elected employee of the staff have multiplied the gritty and sexual allusions to several members of the team. “Several employees were entitled to remarks on their buttocks, on their chests. Several were asked to “send nudes” “, one explains on the side of the McDroits collective. “I was told ‘it must be weird to suck with a piercing on your tongue’”, also testifies a former teammate.
“A fair, independent and impartial investigation”
In order to try to find a way out and end the strike, the restaurant management then promises a fair, independent and impartial investigation. “They are also committed to setting up a psychological unit with a work psychologist, to remove from his mandate the elected representative of the staff involved, and to establish training on harassment and management for the management of the company”, remembers on McDroits side.
But according to the employees, the actions did not really follow. “To date, none of these measures have been implemented”, points to the press release. Neither cell nor formations. The investigation would also have been much less independent than announced: “The interviews were conducted by the management, so there was nothing impartial”, Mathilde testifies. The former employee also accuses her bosses of trying to block the investigations. “They questioned all our answers and tried to dissuade us from maintaining our versions”, she also confides. Words strongly refuted by McDonald’s: “The investigation was conducted in complete independence and supervised by occupational medicine”, let a manager know Release. “It also made it possible to show that the accusations of harassment were founded and dismissal procedures were also immediately launched against the culprits”, he continues.
Yet Mathilde, the initiator of the movement, was also summoned on December 16 for an interview prior to a possible dismissal. The reasons given? A like “Unfortunate” on Facebook and comments made in a private Messenger conversation. “On a Facebook group bringing together several McDonald’s team members, I liked without expressing a comment saying that it was necessary to burn the McDonald’s in Le Havre under a publication of the Mediapart investigation”, she explains. Management would not have appreciated the tenor of some of her messages in a private conversation in which she described her manager as racist, homophobic and misogynist. The excerpts from the discussion had been brought to the eyes of the managers by a colleague. Three days later, she will be dismissed for serious misconduct with immediate effect. “The employee multiplied the insults and called to burn his hierarchy. We call that a serious fault ”, do we justify at Mcdo.
But, for Mathilde and the McDroits collective, all this is just one “Fallacious pretext”. “This is obviously McDonald’s desire to get rid of an employee who makes too much noise: she is one of the first to have launched the alert on the sexual harassment committed by the manager”, judges the association of employees. In the process, Mathilde sends her management a letter to contest her dismissal. A letter still unanswered, says the young woman.
For McDonald’s, on the other hand, there should be no link between the two events: “This is bad timing that Mathilde seeks to amalgamate, but all this has no relation, says this local manager of the American firm. It would make no sense to fire someone who dared to denounce acts of harassment… ” The two parties will be able to confront their visions soon: Mathilde plans to attack the restaurant at the industrial tribunal for unfair dismissal.