McDonald's Employees Claim They Were Told to Put Mustard on Burns and Keep Working Backed by a minimum-wage activist group, employees that suffered severe burns on the job have filed complaints against the chain in 19 cities.

By Kate Taylor

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Don't try McDonald's first aid remedies at home, kids.

On Monday, McDonald's workers who suffered severe burns on the job announced they have filed 28 health and safety complaints against the fast-food company. With complaints spanning 19 cities, workers allege that understaffing and pressure to work too fast created hazardous conditions that resulted in injuries.

One of the most disturbing of these allegations is leveled by Brittney Berry, a former employee from Chicago, who says that when rushing to meet her managers' demands, she severely burned her arm on a hot grill.

"The managers told me to put mustard on it, but I ended up having to get rushed to the hospital in an ambulance," Berry said in a statement. "This is exactly why workers at McDonald's need union rights, so we have a voice to make the company take responsibility for the dangers it creates in its stores."

Related: Why Shake Shack's Danny Meyer Says the iPhone Helped End the Fast-Food Era

"McDonald's and its independent franchisees are committed to providing safe working conditions for employees in the 14,000 McDonald's Brand U.S. restaurants," McDonald's spokesperson Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem said in a statement. "We will review these allegations. It is important to note that these complaints are part of a larger strategy orchestrated by activists targeting our brand and designed to generate media coverage."

The complaints are closely linked to recent activism against fast-food chains. Like many recent complaints against McDonald's, they were filed with the assistance of 'Fight for $15,' a campaign launched by the Service Employees International Union in late 2012. McDonald's has argued that these campaigns and other efforts by the SEIU, including the move toward considering franchisors "joint employers" in labor disputes, are veiled attempts at increasing union membership.

However, the SEIU argues McDonald's purposeful overlooks safety problems, meaning the franchisor should be held accountable for health and safety violations. Fight for $15 points to statistics as evidence of a system and industry-wide problem: 79 percent of fast-food workers report they have been burned in the last year, and a third say they have been told to treat burns with condiments like mustard or mayonnaise instead of using burn cream.

Related: Why the International Franchise Association Is Suing Seattle

Kate Taylor

Reporter

Kate Taylor is a reporter at Business Insider. She was previously a reporter at Entrepreneur. Get in touch with tips and feedback on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Science & Technology

These Are the Top 6 AI Threats to Your Business Right Now

The modern workforce is forever changed by artificial intelligence. If you fail to understand that we will all need to learn AI to some degree, you haven't been paying attention.

Business News

Here Are 3 Strategies Startup Founders Can Use to Approach High-Impact Disputes

The $7 billion "buy now, pay later" startup Klarna recently faced a public board spat. Here are three strategies to approach conflict within a business.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

I Tested the 'Invest As You Shop' App to See If It Really Makes Investing Less Intimidating

Grifin is an app that tailors a user's investments to their spending habits. Now, the app is getting even more personal.

Diversity

As a Black Woman CEO, I Built a Remote Company Not Just to Save Money — But to Mirror My Commitment to Diversity. Here's How.

To fuel innovation and global success, you absolutely need diverse perspectives — and having team members all across the world with varying thought processes, life experiences and viewpoints is the key.

Business News

'This Can't Be True': Google Responds to Viral Hoax Claiming the Company Is Shutting Down Gmail

The fake news release started making its way around X on Thursday.