POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Three employees of a Polk County McDonald’s are serving the fast-food chain with a civil rights lawsuit.
The Black employees say the company has done nothing in response to the racial discrimination they’ve faced by their restaurant’s general manager.
Monica Scott is one of the three employees filing the lawsuit and claims the general manager at the McDonald’s located at 5525 Walt Loop in Lakeland has created an unwelcoming environment for Black employees and customers.
“She treats Black employees more harshly and said hateful things about black people that made me feel like crying,” Scott said.
One of those comments, according to Scott, had to do with a Black customer in the drive-thru asking for ketchup and grape jelly to go along with a breakfast order.
“The GM told me that it’s always Black people who want free stuff,” she said.
When she and other co-workers raised concerns to the corporate human resources department, Scott said she was faced with retaliation in the form of bad performance grades and fewer hours of work.
“We were told that nothing would happen because the store is profitable,” she said. “When my hours were cut, it didn’t just affect the size of my wallet, it (put) my kids’ livelihood and wellbeing in jeopardy.”
McDonald’s released the following statement to News Channel 8:
“McDonald’s unequivocally stands behind the need for equality and fairness on both sides of the counter in our restaurants, and we do not tolerate discrimination or retaliation of any kind by anyone. We stand with Black communities across the globe in our commitment to address unacceptable racial injustices and are disappointed that these allegations do not reflect the high standards we hold ourselves accountable to every day across all areas of our business. We take these claims seriously and will review the complaint once it has been filed and take actions accordingly.”MCDONALD’S USA
Additionally, McDonald’s said it provides “many channels for employees to report ethics, discrimination or human rights concerns” such as an anonymous call line that is operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Scott said it is time for the fast-food restaurant chain to take responsibility.
“We’re demanding that McDonald’s shows us that Black workers matter and I hope this complaint forces the company to do just that,” she said.
This specific location is just one of many McDonald’s that has provided free meals for frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and Scott says she and the other two employees have witnessed the manager single out Black nurses and firefighters by making them show proof of employment.