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Final Research Paper: Sexual Harassment


Sexual harassment is one of the unethical scenarios in organizations. It is a form of discrimination and human rights violation. Since it incorporates power play and the use of sexuality as a weapon of dominance and authority, it is deliberate, callous, and intended to reduce the victim’s dignity and make them more helpless. Because they frequently lack authority and are in more precarious positions, women are far more likely to be impacted by this manifestation of power relations (Hersch, 2015). A negative work environment is important in fostering sexual harassment in workplaces. Most employees get affected when an organization fails to have an inclusive work environment, and unethical issues such as asexual harassment are encouraged. Poor leadership is also the main cause of sexual harassment; leaders should be protective and should ensure that they protect their employees at all costs. If they fail to do this, they create an environment where employees are sexually harassed. Leaders should also ensure that companies have ethical conducts statethat guide them ands the consequences of being unethical; through this, they can reduce sexual harassment. Mcdonald’s is one of the companies that has been reported to have a lot of sexual harassment scenarios (Covert, 2020). A class-action sexual harassment case that the Company is presently dealing with could significantly damage the business. McDonald’s fails to maintain a work environment free from harassment and discrimination and has ongoing issues with sexual harassment. This is not the first time that Mcdonald’s has been the target of such accusations; for instance, in 2018, hundreds of Mcdonald’s employees organized a rally to call for the firm to take more aggressive action to stop sexual abuse.

Problem Statement

This paper will research how a negative work environment and poor leadership result in sexual harassment at Mcdonald’s. Moreover, the paper will discuss some recommendations which can be put in place to reduce sexual harassment at Mcdonald’s.


McDonald’s employees in about ten cities in the United States walked out in April 2022 in response to how the company handled sexual harassment. The workers said there was an inadequate response to the continued sexual violence. The Company’s manager was arrested in April after a different employee told Scholl administrators that she had experienced assault and has been sentenced to up to ten years in prison. A spokesperson from the Company said that it was unclear how many employees were scheduled to work on the day the strike walked out. Mathilde, a 23-year-old woman, was one of the employees who had experienced sexual harassment (Covert, 2020). She is currently an activist because of her experiences at Mcdonald’s. She and her co-workers reported sexual harassment, racism, and bullying at Mcdonald’s branches in Brazil. Thousands of other employees in the company’s branches tell similar stories. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued a McDonald’s franchisee in the New England region in March 2021 for failing to shield employees from a manager who had been sexually abusing them for years. The business owed damages of $1.6 million (Covert, 2020). However, the company’s franchise owner talked to BBC; they said that the company is now committed to adhering to the standards and modeling what it means to support their employees in serving their customers and society with respect.

Organizational Culture

A strong organizational culture is crucial for the development of traits that are essential for business success. Organizational culture is a set of beliefs and standards that serve as a road map for members of the organization. While a dysfunctional workplace culture fosters traits that can impede even the most successful firms, a positive company culture fosters traits that lead to greater performance (Tedla, 2016). Consistent and genuine behaviors help to build a positive culture. Employees are more likely to feel at home, supported, and respected when their workplace cultures mirror their values.

Whether or not sexual harassment occurs in an organization and whether or not it is reported can depend on organizational culture. Organizational intolerance of sexual harassment relates to organizational attitudes toward the practice and whether workers believe their employers stand up for victims of the crime. In their study on perceived vulnerability to future harassment, Ford and Ivancic discovered that individuals who believed their organization permitted sexual harassment also believed they were at risk for future abuse (Ford et al., 2021).

A poor work environment in Mcdonald’s is the leading cause of the increased sexual harassment. The company has a work culture that is not free from harassment and discrimination because it lacks training on how employees should handle it. While so many employees have been experiencing sexual violence, the company does not provide enough training to its employees on how to be ethical. In addition, the harassment shows that the company promotes discrimination and does not have a workplace that protects its employee. Workplace sexual harassment is ongoing; no worker should be required to tolerate being touched or made feel uncomfortable just by being at work. Each person has the right to earn a living without added pressure or stress from unsexual advances. Mcdonald’s should develop a work culture that protects all the employees and make them comfortable; workers should not be violated while working. This shows that the company does not promote an inclusive environment, leading to increased sexual harassment.


Good leadership is key to the success of businesses; when good leaders lead organizations, they are most likely to succeed. However, when there is bad leadership, employees feel unmotivated, which leads to reduced productivity. Leaders are the mirror of an organization, and everyone follows their steps. Therefore, they have to be ethical for others to be ethical. If leaders are unethical, employees and other staff members will also be unethical. Unethical leaders foster unethical behaviors such as sexual harassment because they make it psychologically unsafe for employees to speak up (Zhang & Yao, 2019). When people in an organization have no one to talk to when they face problems, the issues they go through fail to be addressed hence making it worse. For example, when employees are sexually harassed but have no one to approach and talk to, the harassment continues,, eventually damaging organizations’ reputation. Leaders should be ethical and should make it easy for employees to approach them so that they can know everything that goes on in their organizations and solve them.

McDonald’s corporate leadership has failed to support its employees and protect those hence increasing sexual harassment issues. The Company’s leaders do not take the complaints of sexual harassment seriously and do not act on them right away. . The company examined 800 female employees at corporate and franchised restaurants in 2019 (Covert, 2020). The majority of respondents—71%—said that they had experienced workplace harassment and that they had been reprimanded for reporting it. The company’s corporate leadership believed that the survey sample was too small and inaccurate, according to a spokesperson for the organization. Later in the year, though, they made an announcement about a new sexual harassment policy.

Since they believed the studies to be inaccurate, the leaders disregarded the problems and dismissed them as unimportant. As leaders, they were expected to treat every issue seriously and do more research to develop solutions. McDonald’s CEOs are currently in a panic and speaking out about problems they have known about for years as a result of the heightened media attention and lawsuits. If leadership did not previously feel the need to handle harassment and now they are talking about it, they should understand that they require sexual harassment training at all management levels. This is a sign that the issue is at the corporate level. Local managers should educate their staff on the anti-sexual harassment policy because the problem demands prompt attention. Since they are essential to achieving goals, employees should be a leader’s top priority and cause for greater care. All businesses that want to prosper must prioritize protecting their employees because they are what makes a firm successful or unsuccessful.


Sexual harassment can be easily solved in organizations. Developing an inclusive and positive work culture can be key to reducing sexual harassment in workplaces. Mcdonald’s can develop a positive work culture by establishing a clear ethos and values. In order for employees to feel like they are a part of the organization, it is critical that the company has defined organizational core principles that are accessible to them (Bayot et al., 2020). This can help reduce sexual harassment because it can make employees more comfortable talking about the issues affecting them while working. Moreover, sexual harassment can be reduced in workplaces by fostering collaboration and communication. Organizations such as Mcdonald’s should develop a leadership and management style that encourages teamwork and honest communication; through this, employees can feel safe to open up on issues affecting them. Finally, an inclusive environment can be vital in reducing sexual harassment in organizations as it can help reduce discrimination which is one of the main causes of sexual harassment.


An example of a workplace ethical problem is sexual harassment. They are purposeful, callous, and a kind of discrimination that violates human rights. They also aim to further weaken and degrade the victim’s dignity. Mcdonald’s is one of the companies that have been accused of sexual harassment among their employees. They have sued several lawsuits, and this has damaged their reputation greatly. The company has a poor work culture that does not offer a discrimination free environment, and that does not protect its employees. Moreover, the company’s work culture does not offer adequate training to its employees on how to be ethical. The poor leadership in the company has also led to increased sexual harassment in the company. The leaders were told about the issues going on with the employees but did not act on them until they received media attention and lawsuits. Sexual harassment in workplaces can be reduced in workplaces by fostering the development of an inclusive work culture that promotes open communication.


Bayot, M. L., Tadi, P., & Sharts-Hopko, N. C. (2020). Work Culture. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing.

Covert, B. (2020, July 28). McDonald’s Has a Real Sexual Harassment Problem.

Ford, J. L., Ivancic, S., & Scarduzio, J. (2021). Silence, Voice, and Resilience: An Examination of Workplace Sexual Harassment. Communication Studies72(4), 513–530.

Hersch, J. (2015). Sexual harassment in the workplace. IZA World of Labor.

Tedla, T. (2016). The Impact of Organizational Culture on Corporate Performance.

Zhang, X., & Yao, Z. (2019). Impact of relational leadership on employees’ unethical pro-organizational behavior: A survey based on tourism companies in four countries. PLoS ONE14(12).


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