- Posted September 27, 2012 by
Ex-McDonald’s Employee Protests Treatment
On Tuesday, Sherena Freeman and two friends held up signs that said, “Honk if you’re against discrimination,” and “Not lovin’ it.”
They also had signs attached to nearby chairs that said, “Stop the hate,” and “Don’t discriminate.” They blew whistles and handed out fliers to those who wanted to know more about what was going on.
The fliers explain Sherena’s situation. Back in May, an African American male submitted an application to the store, she said.
Shortly after he turned it in, the store’s general manager allegedly told Sherena, an African American woman, that she would never hire him because, “All black men are worthless, lazy, don’t come to work, are stupid and stay on drugs.”
Freeman said she then tried to stick up “for what is right” and tell the general manager those were racist statements. She said the manager apologized if Freeman had taken the comments wrong,that it was a joke, but, “It wasn’t a joke and I don’t find it funny,” Freeman said.
After the alleged incident, Freeman said, the manager was only written up, so Freeman took action. She tracked down the man who had applied and they contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Freeman was fired shortly thereafter. Though it was labeled as a layoff because of a security violation, Freeman said she believes she was fired in retaliation for speaking up and telling about the situation.
“I’m not sorry for telling anyone,” Freeman said. “Those were racist statements, not just inappropriate statements.”
Freeman said the owners, Marilyn Yawnick and Linda Carlin, are refusing to do anything and “aren’t taking the situation seriously.”
Yawnick said the owners don’t believe they did anything wrong. She maintains that both the Weed and Yreka McDonald’s restaurants employ a diverse group of employees and that they are a “fair and equal employer.”
“I think they are making the situation out to be a lot worse than it is,” Yawnick said. “We are really saddened and disappointed that anybody would think of us and our business in that way because we have tried to include so many people in our restaurants.”
Yawnick said there is a three-step discipline process and the owners have followed that process with the manager. She said that because it’s a personnel issue she couldn’t go into details, but, “We didn’t just write her up.”
She said the action taken was run through the owners’ legal counsel and the NAACP and that both thought it was appropriate.
She said a thorough investigation was launched and “we found no incidents of racism in (the manager’s) hiring practices. … If I would have found any hint of racism at all in her hiring practices, she would have been fired on the spot, and she knows that.”
Yawnick said the man’s application has been treated no differently than the other about 100 applicants who have come in since a national hiring day in April – she has them, but no one has been interviewed.
“It’s not a racial thing, it’s an ‘all our jobs are filled’ thing,” she said.
Yawnick said she met with the NAACP, Shasta County NAACP President Ricky Bennett, who serves people in Siskiyou County, said she has refused any formal meetings with him.
He said he just happened to run into her while on a visit in June, but attempts to meet with her and get copies of paperwork needed for Freeman’s case have been denied. He said he will be making another attempt to set up a meeting soon.
Though Yawnick said the owners have received no other complaints, Bennett said three other people have already filed cases and one other is in the process.
Once he receives permission from his national headquarters, Bennett said he will be bringing a group to Siskiyou County to protest.
In the meantime, Freeman will be out protesting again today, and those who want to know more can look up “Don’t Discriminate” on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.