Aiesha Meadows stood right outside the Burger King where she used to work and demanded a halt to workplace harassment.
She was one of the eight fast-food chain employees who filed sexual harassment complaints Wednesday with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as part of various events and demonstrations marking International Women’s Day.
The group of men and women chanted: “We work, we sweat, so give us our respect” and “BK, BK, you’re no good. Treat your workers like you should.” They demanded the reinstatement of women they said were terminated for speaking up against the abuse; they also wanted all managers accused of sexual harassment removed.
In Meadows’ case, the manager commented inappropriately on her appearance.
“My manager has told me [that] my uniform pants [are] not tight enough so he can’t see my figure,” Meadows, 24, said.
But that wasn’t even close to what she would have to face on her last day of work; her manager called her into his office because “they needed to talk.”
Expecting the promotion she had been promised, Meadows said the manager grabbed her hand and placed it on his crotch.
“I jumped back and was done with Burger King,” Meadows said.
Complaints obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times involved a Burger King at 733 E. 47th St. where a manager was accused by employees of constantly making inappropriate sexual comments and unnecessarily touching them, as well as alleged sexual harassment by an employee at a McDonald’s, 2827 S. Cicero.
A McDonald’s representative issued a statement when asked to comment by the Sun-Times:
“At McDonald’s, we and our independent owner-operators share a deep commitment to the respectful treatment of everyone. There is no place for harassment and discrimination of any kind in McDonald’s restaurants or in any workplace.”
Representatives from Burger King did not respond to requests for comment.
The McDonalds’ employee complaint said the male employee would grip the woman’s wrist or arm and put his hands on her lower back.
Rachel Cockrell, 27, another former Burger King employee who alleged she was terminated after she didn’t comply with her manager’s sexual demands, recounted how her manager would ask her questions about his sexual life.
“I wouldn’t know what to say,” Cockrell said.“It was awkward.”
Cockrell added that her hours started getting cut when she didn’t comply with her manager’s sexual demands.