McDonald’s Corp. will begin requiring anti-harassment training and workplace violence prevention across its entire 39,000-store network in a move that helps fend off long-reported criticism it overlooks workplace abuse.
The mandatory training at both company-owned and franchisee locations will start in January 2022. Restaurants will be assessed against the new standards, which also include sections on employee feedback and health and safety, it said.
“We must continue to strive for—and achieve—consistently high standards, and when we or our franchisees fall short, we must all have a system in place to address those shortfalls immediately,” Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski wrote in a memo to team members outlining the change. “We have a business imperative and social obligation to make the restaurants, communities and world more equitable.”
The Chicago-based company has contended for years with accusations that it tolerated workplace harassment and ignored safety issues. The company has countered criticism by revamping policies to include training for workers to deal with harassment and starting a hotline for victims, including other measures. To drive home its commitment to higher standards, it fired its then-CEO, Steve Easterbrook, in late 2019 over a workplace relationship.
Under Kempczinski, McDonald’s has said it would step up efforts to fight systemic racism by addressing any hiring biases, increasing the diversity of its leadership and doing more to attract diverse franchisees. In February, it also said it will start tying 15% of executives’ bonuses to meeting targets including diversity and began disclosing data on the racial makeup of its workforce.