In the USA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (n.d.) considers workplace violence as viciousness or the danger of violence against personnel. Such a workplace violence may occur in or outside the workplace in form of verbal abuse, threats, or physical abuse, and even homicide. Reports of workplace violence have come from various institutions and organizations. Thus, sexual violence against female employees at McDonald's various restaurants in the USA has been the issue of concern for American society lately; therefore, workplace violence can be managed through various practices that teach employees and employers to manage their relations properly.
McDonald’s Workplace Violence: A Sexual Harassment Case
Workplace violence takes many forms, with sexual assault and harassment being quite common ones. A strike of female employees in McDonald's restaurants in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and San Francisco as well as some other cities has revealed cases of workplace violence. An atmosphere of sexual harassment has been observed in the restaurants of the famous fast food chain (Elsesser, 2018). Female employees of the company cited being harassed by older male employees mostly through verbal abuse and physical harassment (Elsesser, 2018). Some women said that male employees tried to assault them sexually or made inappropriate advances (Elsesser, 2018). Even though women reported about these incidents to their superiors, no action was made, and some of them were even fired, while male employees were not punished anyhow.
Workplace violence can have multiple triggers, and the case of McDonald's shows that various factors could have caused sexual violence against female employees. First, the company's policies and procedures are not sufficient enough to counter the nature of violence. Reports of sexual harassment are ignored mainly, with the victims being told that they will never win the battle where male employees are concerned (Elsesser, 2018). Another example is that most victims are afraid of losing their jobs, which might serve as a trigger for harassment since abusers know that they will not be punished. Many female victims of sexual harassment have chosen to remain silent regarding their experiences due to the fear of retaliation for making complaints (Elsesser, 2018). Usually, the victims observed that such complaints would often led to more harassment and at, times, even loss of jobs for them (Elsesser, 2018). Thus, the problem may thrive since the company, like many others, is more concerned with decreasing its legal liability regarding sexual harassment than characteristically reducing the cases of particular sexual misconduct.
Cases of workplace violence are common in many companies, and McDonald’s is not an exception. Elsesser (2018) notes that the history and accounts of sexual violence at McDonald's are not ambiguous. The underlying factors are that the company's policies and guidelines are inadequate to manage sexual violence against female employees. According to Elsesser (2018), those involved in the harassment are mostly older male employees and male managers, while victims are female employees who are afraid to lose their jobs. Some of these abusers are tasked with safeguarding employees' welfare; instead, they harass them.
Managing Workplace Violence: Best Practices
Workplace violence can occur to anyone in any workplace. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (n.d.), every year, about 2 million employees suffer from workplace violence. The present and future practices in dealing with this issue, victimization, and deterrence must concern employees and employers. In addition to filing charges against their attackers, victims of abuse can similarly alert their supervisors about their concerns and avoid being alone in risky areas. On the other hand, employers should implement such a policy in the workplace that no form of violence against or by their personnel is tolerated. Companies can offer safety education for workers, secure the workplace with guards and other measures, and instruct employees to avoid dangerous areas. Eventually, together with the integration of violence prevention programs, victimization and workplace violence can be managed.
The nature of workplace violence at McDonald's was sexual abuse by older male employees and managers against the female staff. This violence included both verbal and physical assault of sexual nature. Factors leading to sexual violence ranged from female employees fearing more harassment to losing their jobs after complaining about being abused. Nevertheless, appropriate measures can be taken by employees and employers to manage such incidents.
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