McDonald's Corp has said it will require new training and policies to combat harassment, discrimination and violence at its 39,000 restaurants worldwide, calling for safer work places after it faced lawsuits by some female employees.
The burger chain said restaurants, a majority of which are run by franchisees, will be required to meet the new standards starting in January 2022.
The move is part of the company's plan to make safer environments for workers after it faced several lawsuits accusing it of subjecting female employees at its corporate-owned restaurants to widespread sexual harassment.
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Last week, the company also announced plans to hire 25,000 people in its restaurants across Texas, United States in April.
Last year, McDonald's hired around 260,000 restaurant staff in the United States when stores reopened for diners after serving them through delivery, drive-thru and takeaway for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
McDonald's, which owns about 14,000 restaurants in the United States, hires thousands of restaurant employees every summer across the country, drawing several high-school and college students for the job.
In February, the company said it expects overall sales growth to be in the "low double digits" in 2021, and has forecast that an increase in its US market will be offset by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in parts of Europe.
Several European countries imposed tough restrictions when the pandemic surged again late last year, compounding the difficulties faced by a restaurant industry already reeling from the impact of COVID-19 for much of 2020.