Fast food behemoth McDonald’s has been forced to suspend a manager after reports emerged he had sexually and racially harassed a young job applicant.
Reports spread like wildfire in the media – including in the UK and New Zealand – that a teenage girl had been intimidated by the manager of an outlet in Cairns in far north Queensland.
According to news.com.au, the manager asked the teenage girl in a one-on-one interview, “Do you think you’re beautiful?” and “Are you gonna cry? You look like you’re gonna cry!”.
After being told the girl is of Torres Strait Islander heritage, the unnamed manager reportedly responded by asking her, “What’s two plus two?”, and on her correctly answering, replied with, “Yep, it’s four in our country too.”
A spokesperson for McDonald’s Australia told My Business the company is taking the allegations “incredibly seriously”.
“The allegations described are unacceptable and when McDonald’s head office was informed of this matter on Tuesday we started an immediate review,” the spokesperson said.
“We have made efforts to contact the [girl’s] mother to seek further details; in addition, the manager has been placed on leave to allow us to conduct a full and fair investigation.”
My Business sought clarification from McDonald’s over its hiring practices – including whether one-on-one interviews are standard – and training procedures around discrimination, but the company spokesperson declined to provide details.
The furore comes just days after fashion retailer H&M saw stores trashed and threats of boycotts after a racist ad caused outrage in South Africa.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.