'They don't care': Durham accuser speaks out about new McDonald's sexual harassment class action suit

Joel Brown Image
ByJoel Brown via WTVD logo
Friday, November 15, 2019
EMBED <>More Videos

Durham accuser speaks out on new McDonald's sexual harassment lawsuit

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Lois Jones told us she is not surprised to hear of more women coming forward with stories very similar to the one she tells about sexual harassment and assault at the McDonald's on Hillsborough Road in Durham.

She gave an update on her legal fight against her old employer and her reaction to the recent firing of the McDonald's CEO.

"I'm trying to hold back my tears because it's sad," Jones said. "It's sad how they sit there allow them people to talk to workers and do them the way they doing... and not do nothing about it."

Jones is still at the center of her own fight over what she says was relentless sexual misconduct at McDonald's and still processing the news of a new class-action lawsuit filed in Michigan against the fast-food giant including more women who work behind the counters alleging the culture of sexual harassment at McDonald's is toxic and created from the top.

In response to the new case, the company says, "McDonald's is demonstrating its continued commitment to this issue through the implementation of safe and respectful workplace training in 100% of our corporate-owned restaurants."

But 93% of its stores are franchises and not required to follow corporate policies.

McDonald's added it's encouraged that many of the franchises are taking up the new regulations.

But back in Durham, Jones is not convinced.

"McDonald's don't care. They don't care," she said.

While the owner-operators at the Hillsborough Road franchise say they're working to create an environment where everyone "feels respected and valued", Jones says she endured months of abuse last year at the hands of a co-worker.

"He did a lot of sexual things toward me; said a lot of sexual things toward me; touched me physically," she said. "(The management) took it as a joke; told me I was lying; told me I was just stupid."

Jones and the other women from McDonald's have been pushing for months to call out the issue of sexual harassment in the fast-food industry.

The new class-action lawsuit comes just days after McDonald's board of directors fired CEO Steve Easterbrook over his consensual relationship with an employee that violated company policy. Easterbrook was ousted with a generous severance package.

"They gonna fire him and sweep it under the rug," Jones said. "But look at it -- he leaves with a lot. What does it leave for us?"

Jones filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last spring. It's been six months; her case is still pending.

While she has a new job with a new company now -- she insists the only way fast-food workers will get the wages they want and the protections they need is to unionize.