Pervasive Sexual Harassment at McDonald’s: A Timeline of Struggles to “Do the Right Thing”

Author: Nicole A. Ploeger-Lyons & Jennifer A. Butler
Publisher: International Journal of Instructional Cases


IJIC, Volume 5 (2021)



McDonald’s prides itself on consistency in food preparation, quality, and service across its nearly 40,000 restaurants. Also consistent at McDonald’s is widespread and persistent sexual harassment and a narrative from McDonald’s describing its commitment to “do the right thing.” Given the numerous sexual harassment lawsuits and discrimination charges filed against McDonald’s, it seems the company is failing to live its value of Integrity: We Do the Right Thing.


sexual harassment, organizational culture, values, communication, human resources policies

Target Audience and Usage

The suggested audience includes students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs with a focus on management and leadership, business communication, or organizational communication. Students should understand the basic principles of sexual harassment and organizational values before analyzing this case. Alternatively, the case can be used as a means of introducing these concepts.

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