There are plenty of workplace hazards when you’re behind the counter of a fast food joint: dangerously hot equipment, wet floors, splattering grease. But there are also hazards that come from the other side of counter in the form of violent and threatening customers. Now 17 employees from 13 Chicago McDonald’s restaurants have filed a lawsuit against the company that claims that it puts them at “daily risk” of physical attacks from the customers.
The workers allege that Chicago police respond to more than 20 911 calls per day from McDonald’s restaurants. The lawsuit, which has been filed in Cook County court, contains stories of employees who have been beaten with signs and urinated on by customers.
The lawsuit claims that in efforts to increase profits, McDonald’s has put workers in danger. There are insufficient physical barriers between workers and customers: Counters are law enough to jump over and drive-thru windows are large enough to crawl through. Bathroom doors don’t lock from the inside; one plaintiff claimed that when she was cleaning the men’s bathroom, a male customer came in and exposed himself to her.
“McDonald’s has failed, at a systemic level, to protect its workers from violence in the workplace,” Danny Rosenthal, an attorney for the workers, told the Associated Press. “Throughout the country, McDonald’s workers are regularly threatened, assaulted, and injured by customers.”
McDonald’s, naturally, didn’t respond to any specific charges in the lawsuit, but issued a statement that it takes worker safety very seriously.