FAST FOOD INDUSTRY

McDonald's accused of allowing harassment

McDonald’s was sued Tuesday by workers in Michigan who accused the fast-food chain of allowing pervasive sexual harassment to flourish at its restaurants nationwide.

The proposed class-action lawsuit filed in a Michigan state court accused McDonald’s of lacking policies to address sexual harassment, failing to train managers to prevent it, and retaliating against workers who complain.

It said McDonald’s “creates and permits a toxic work culture from the very top,” citing last week’s firing of chief executive Steve Easterbrook for having an improper consensual relationship with an employee.

Easterbrook has said he made a mistake. He has not been accused of sexual harassment.

McDonald’s said in a statement that it is implementing safe-workplace training at its corporate-owned restaurants and encouraging franchisees to do the same.

About 95 percent of McDonald’s U.S. restaurants are franchised, and the plaintiffs’ lawyers said the Chicago-based company does not push hard enough to improve training at the franchised restaurants.

Workers have filed more than 50 similar complaints against McDonald’s and its franchisees in the United States over the past three years.

Tuesday’s lawsuit was among the first brought as a class action, representatives of plaintiff Jenna Ries said.

— Reuters

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

E.U. to require Israeli settlement labels

The European Union’s top court ruled Tuesday that E.U. countries must identify products made in Israeli settlements on their labels, in a decision that was welcomed by rights groups but sparked anger in Israel.

The European Court of Justice said that when products come from an Israeli settlement, their labels must provide an “indication of that provenance” so that consumers can make “informed choices” when they shop.

The E.U. rejects Israeli settlement expansion, saying it undermines the hopes for a two-state solution by gobbling up lands claimed by the Palestinians. Israel says the labeling is unfair and discriminatory and says other countries involved in disputes over land are not similarly sanctioned.

The volume of settlement goods coming into Europe, including olive oil, fruit and wine but also industrial products, is relatively small compared to the political significance of the court ruling. It is estimated to affect about 1 percent of imports from Israel.

The E.U. wants any produce made in the settlements to be easily identifiable to shoppers and insists that it must not carry the generic “Made in Israel” tag.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

JetBlue Airways on Tuesday became the latest U.S. airline to launch a low-fare option in an effort to rival basic economy offerings from major airlines and meet competition from ultra-low-cost carriers. The new fare, to be called "Blue Basic," will allow one carry-on bag — space permitting — and free seat selection 24 hours before the flight, but those passengers will be the last to board the plane.

Dell Technologies announced a goal to make half of its global workforce female by 2030, one of a raft of pledges meant to foster greater diversity and sustainability at the personal computer maker. The company also set a 2030 target for women to make up 40 percent of the employees worldwide who manage people. Women make up 30.4 percent of Dell's workforce as of February. And the company said it wants 25 percent of Dell's U.S. workers to be African American or Hispanic by 2030, an increase from almost 13 percent this year.

Juul Labs will eliminate 650 jobs and freeze hiring, part of a plan to cut $1 billion in costs as it pulls back on marketing and tries to get its vaping device cleared for sale by U.S. health regulators. The San Francisco-based e-cigarette company has become a target of government regulators attempting to stem an epidemic of new, young nicotine users. Juul, facing an existential threat to its business, has responded by changing CEOs, limiting its marketing and lobbying, and stopping sales of flavors such as mint and mango.

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases consumer price index for October.

— From news services