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McDonald's Corp. will begin evaluating implementation of the new standards in January 2022.

McDonald’s issues new standards for safe, inclusive workplaces

Burger giant sets January 2022 deadline for beginning to evaluate global markets’ implementation

McDonald’s Corp. is implementing a new set of Global Brand Standards to help prevent violence, harassment and discrimination in its 39,000 restaurants worldwide, the company said Wednesday.

The Chicago-based burger brand called it “a significant step forward in its commitment to fostering safe, respectful and inclusive workplaces.” It will begin evaluating market compliance in January.

“There are no short cuts to ensuring that people feel safe, respected and included at a McDonald’s restaurant. This work starts by taking big, intentional moves,” said Chris Kempczinski, McDonald’s president and CEO, in a statement. “Our new Global Brand Standards reinforce our commitment to living our values such that at every interaction, everyone is welcome, comfortable and safe.”

McDonald’s said all its restaurants, both company-owned and franchisee locations, in more than 100 countries will be required to adhere to these standards.

“Implementation will be supported by a suite of policies, tools, trainings and reporting mechanisms,” the company said.

Earlier this year, Kempczinski ordered a review of workplace-safety policies and programs across the global system in the wake of a “CBS Sunday Morning” February report of female employees who had either filed harassment or discrimination charges or sued McDonald’s corporate restaurants or those of franchisees.

“These standards are a natural extension of our values,” Kempczinski said in a letter to the McDonald’s system. “To our knowledge, these are a first for our industry, and they are designed to reinforce a culture of safety and inclusion — one in which employees and customers feel protected, and where violence, harassment and discrimination of any kind is not tolerated.”

The global standards review was led by four members of the brand’s executive team: Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA; Ian Borden, president of McDonald’s international; Heidi Capozzi, global chief people officer; and Katie Fallon, chief global impact officer.

“I want to thank the members of our cross-functional team as well as Heidi Capozzi, Joe Erlinger, Ian Borden, Katie Fallon and all those involved in bringing these new standards to life,” Kempczinski said Wednesday. “You’ll be hearing more on this topic from your senior leaders as we move forward.”

The new standards prioritize actions in four areas: harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention; workplace violence prevention; restaurant employee feedback; and health and safety.

Mark Salebra, chairman of the U.S. National Franchisee Leadership Alliance and a franchise owner, said: “As employers, we have an important role to play in setting the bar high for a values-led, safe and inclusive working environment. Our franchise community is committed to adhering to the standards and model what it means to support our employees in doing what we do best—serving our customers and communities with integrity and respect.”

Beginning in January 2022, restaurants will be assessed and held accountable in the McDonald’s business evaluation processes for the individual markets.

“This timeline allows each market to implement the standards in the way that is most effective,” the company said.

McDonald’s said it would continue to work with independent and third-party experts in the U.S. and globally to provide expertise, training and tools that support the implementation of the standards for franchisees.

“Every company has a responsibility to create a safe environment for its employees and everyone who walks through its doors,” said Clara Kim, vice president of consulting services at RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization. “We commend McDonald’s for setting these standards to help ensure that everyone working at a McDonald’s restaurant is provided with a safe and respectful workplace and that all restaurants are held accountable for this important work.”

About 93% of McDonald's 39,000 restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by franchise owners.

Contact Ron Ruggless at Ronald.Ruggless@Informa.com

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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