One of the previous slogans used by McDonalds restaurants-an icon of the fast food industry-was "We love to see you smile." Yet, according to one woman's lawsuit, this attitude does not apply to the chain's employees-especially if they are of international origin.
A Nicaraguan women and former employee of a Los Angeles branch of the national fast food chain has filed a suit against McDonalds citing several violations of her rights as a worker, including national origin discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
Regardless of an employee's ethnic background, there are several state and federal laws which stipulate that employers cannot discriminate against a worker based on their nationality. Supervisors, managers, and owners who allow stereotypes and prejudices to affect their treatment of an employee can be held accountable for their bias under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
According to the former McDonald's employee, her employers consistently and aggressively berated her with negative comments related to her Nicaraguan nationality from the time she began working at the restaurant in 2008 to the time she was fired in 2009. The plaintiff testified that both her supervisor and manager at the fast food chain called her offensive names and referred to all Nicaraguans in a derogatory manner.
In addition, the plaintiff asserts that her employers forced her to complete unreasonable tasks-such as working in the store freezer for an unjustified amount of time-and pushed her to the brink of exhaustion.
The former employee also claims that her hours were unfairly restricted due to accusations from her employers that she was "lazy."
State and federal laws require employers to treat their workers with a certain amount of respect and consideration. Violating these laws can lead to serious consequences, a fact which McDonald's may discover first-hand as this case progresses.
Source: EGP News, "Woman Files Lawsuit Against McDonalds for Discrimination." City News Service, 28 April 2011