Harrell was among several protest organizers who filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in May, alleging pervasive harassment at some of McDonald's franchise restaurants.
"Fed up with McDonald's failure to address groping, propositions for sex and other illegal behavior in its stores, workers ... will wage the first-ever nationwide strike to combat sexual harassment", Fight for 15, which did not respond to request for comment, said in a Tweet announcing the strike. Workers want McDonald's to form a committee on sexual harassment that has workers, corporate representatives and leaders of national women's groups on board.
McDonald's claims there are "policies, procedures, and training in place that are specifically created to prevent sexual harassment", but workers say complaints often have been met with indifference or even retaliation.
The protests are part of a broadening of the #MeToo campaign - mostly aimed at high-profile targets in entertainment, media and politics - into the realm of low-wage, blue-collar work, where employees without wealth or influence can be particularly vulnerable. One of the complainants in the case is only 15 years old.
We reached out to McDonald's and a rep tells TMZ. Now, fast food employees are challenging the toxic climate in their workplace.
"The walkout is believed to be the first US strike to confront sexual harassment in more than 100 years", according to advocacy group Fight for $15, which is coordinating the event. Harrell says she is still dealing with the impact of her experience at McDonald's.
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SEIU spokeswoman Sara Lonardo said in an email to the Washington Free Beacon that the union is "committed to ensuring that our own work environment reflects the same values that we fight for on behalf of all workers across the service sector".
"When you feel that your livelihood is threatened, and you feel like you can't bring home a paycheck, it can be really scary", said Ali Baker, a restaurant worker speaking at a small but boisterous protest in front of McDonald's global headquarters in Chicago.
But the legacy of abuse continues, workers say. "This includes supporting and standing with the fearless women demanding a union and speaking out against the abuse, bullying, harassment, and discrimination at McDonald's".
More than 50 protesters marched outside a McDonald's restaurant in Orlando at 9814 International Drive, south of the Orange County Convention Center.
"There's a lot of sexual harassment going on behind closed doors", he said.
The workers are demanding that McDonald's mandate anti-harassment training for all employees and implement a better system for reporting and addressing allegations of misconduct, the Associated Press reported.