Although there is greater attention paid to sexual harassment, it continues to be an issue in workplaces in New York and across the nation. This can occur in any kind of job, but certain types of workers are particularly vulnerable. A recent lawsuit filed by two women who worked at a fast-food giant shows the challenges inherent with harassment and lodging complaints about it.

The two women worked at McDonald’s restaurants in Florida. They assert that they were systematically harassed by fellow workers. When they complained about it, the company did nothing to the alleged perpetrators, instead punishing the complainants. One woman says she was touched inappropriately and endured sexually-tinged comments. When she reported it, the restaurant cut her work hours. The other woman dealt with similar treatment and when she too complained, she says she was retaliated against and was fired. The women say the company did nothing to those who were harassing them.

They are seeking $500 million as part of a class-action lawsuit that strives to represent thousands of other females who were harassed. These allegations are not new to McDonald’s. Since 2016, 15 workers have complained to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about sexual harassment. There was a separate class-action lawsuit from 2019 when Michigan employees asserted they were sexually harassed and confronted with various employment violations.

The two women fronting the Florida case had also complained to the EEOC, but that case was dismissed. The women were told they could still file a lawsuit, which they have. For employees who have been mistreated at work and dealt with unwanted sexual advances, quid pro quo requests, inappropriate touching, being shown offensive materials and other levels of sexual harassment, there is legal recourse. Employers are required to protect workers and address concerns as they arise. If nothing is done or the worker is retaliated against for complaining, it may be the basis for a lawsuit. A firm that has experience with sexual harassment cases and other employment violations may be able to help with a case.