Friday, March 30, 2012

McDonald's Made Me a Prostitute - COTW #85

From flippin' burgers to turnin' tricks, a former McDonald's employee is suing the burger chain for Negligent Retention and Supervision of Franchisees. She claims Ronald McDonald the franchise owner used "psychological and economic coercion" to force her into prostitution. She started dating the guy, got fired by another manager, and then worked in a legal brothel in Nevada.

All jokes aside, this is likely an extremely sad story - but how is McDonald's liable for this? Well, it doesn't seem like a strong argument, but here's the Complaint, including:

19. But for the lack of education exacerbated by McDonald's open hostility towards unions and workers rights, mostly minimum wage jobs and inferior health benefits, its failure to encourage women employees and women to purchase franchises . . . [Plaintiff] probably could have withstood the psychological and economic coercion [franchise owner] used against her to persuade her to engage in prostitution.
....
25. McDonald's does not insure employee policies are in place to protect against unscrupulous and criminal individuals like [franchise owner]. It has an active, notorious, and hostile campaign to keep unions out. It offers an inferior health care plan and no pension benefits. Most employees are paid minimum wages [and are] "at will," a legal concept left over from the nineteenth century when employees were described as "servants" in American law.
....
105. [B]ecause of its anti worker policies, McDonald's has little interest in overseeing the conduct of franchisees towards their employees and third parties . . . . McDonald's has not insured or taken any affirmative steps to insure that unscrupulous franchise owners . . . do not cause harm to individuals.
Ummm, yeeaaahhh... so, McDonald's pays low wages, hates unions, has an "inferior health care plan," and doesn't take affirmative steps to insure that its former employees don't run off with their boyfriends/McD's franchisees to become legal prostitutes in Nevada? I think this one is a tough sell.

HT: Jon Hyman via Twitter and Courthouse News Service for publishing the Complaint. Sidenote: Jon informed me that upon hearing of this case involving fast food, pimps and hookers, he "immediately thought of [me]" - although he assures me it was just because of COTW!