As McDonald’s is the second-largest fast-food restaurant in the world, it is obvious that people have great expectations of their service.
People love their food but are somewhat concerned about their behavior towards their customers and employees.
That is why there is always debate happening on Reddit or at Qura about whether the food chain is ethical or not.
Despite the incredible variety of food McDonald’s offers, it is considered an unethical company because of its behavior toward suppliers and workers.
But there are lots of other reasons that are damaging the image of the fast-food chain. These are McDonald’s attitude towards the environment, child labor, and its ridiculous advertisement.
Let’s discuss this further!
Although McDonald’s is everyone’s first choice when it comes to fast food, still, it is news due to many controversies and frequent employee walkouts or strikes.
Now let’s look deeply at why people think McDonald’s is an unethical company below.
There is no denying that McDonald’s has a significant negative influence on the health of our environment.
It’s not like they are not making efforts to follow environmentally friendly and sustainable best practices, but still, they are very unfriendly to nature.
The company claims that they are making every possible effort to revise its commitment to sustainable food sourcing frequently.
But an excessive amount of food such as beef, chicken, fish, or bread that McDonald’s needs to make junk food for people is a significant environmental worry.
McDonald’s uses thousands of tonnes of unneeded packaging annually, most of which ends up in landfills or on our streets, where it pollutes the environment. Additionally, the corporation is in charge of 1.5 million tonnes of garbage, a large portion of which is plastic that won’t or can’t be recycled.
Furthermore, McDonald’s produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire nation of Norway, at 53.7 million metric tonnes.
A significant factor in the “global warming” concern is the methane released by cattle raised for the beef business.
The foundation of contemporary intensive agriculture is extensively using environmentally harmful chemicals. All of this can be avoided if safe practices are followed.
McDonald’s has also admitted that they are using beef raised on former forest land, hindering the recovery of that area.
Additionally, the usage of farmland by multinational corporations and their suppliers forces locals to leave their communities and clear more trees.
McDonald’s has come under criticism for how it treats employees, both in-store and corporately.
In protest of the company’s treatment of the alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl, McDonald’s employees in ten US cities recently conducted a walkout, according to Forbes.
This was the seventh time McDonald’s workers have left the company for improper handling of workplace offenses like these.
Additionally, McDonald’s is the largest fast-food business in the world, but it is criticized a lot for its historically low salaries of employees. Despite being a member of his store’s management team, one employee earned only $11 per hour.
On the other hand, McDonald’s has been embracing increased starting and ongoing compensation in recent years.
For instance, the business made $19.21 billion in revenue in 2020 despite having well over a million employees.
That clearly means McDonald’s can afford an increase in the salary of employees, but surprisingly, it does not pay them according to their hard work.
Low pay is common in the fast-food industry. But even when employees put in extremely long hours, McDonald’s does not pay overtime rates.
Staff must work longer and harder under pressure to maintain high profitability and low pay costs.
Still, many workers with limited employment options are obligated to accept this exploitation and “smile” while doing so.
Since McDonald’s has traditionally resisted unions, it makes sense that there is a high staff turnover rate that makes it nearly impossible to organize a union and fight for a better deal.
McDonald’s claims that its cuisine is “nutritious,” but it is junk food because it is poor in fiber and vitamins and heavy in fat, sugar, and salt.
This kind of diet leads to a high risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other disorders. Additionally, their food contains a variety of chemical additives, some of which may harm children’s health and induce hyperactivity.
Remember that the majority of food poisoning occurrences are caused by meat. In 1991, McDonald’s was to blame for a food poisoning outbreak in the UK that left several patients with severe kidney failure.
Due to the use of contemporary, intensive farming techniques, individuals are now also at risk from additional diseases that are connected to chemical residues or unnatural activities (such as BSE).
Large tracts of land are used for crops, cattle ranching, or grain farming to feed animals that will be consumed in the West.
The local food supply will suffer as a result. McDonald’s consistently advertises meat items, enticing customers to consume meat more frequently and wasting a growing amount of food resources.
Only 1 million tonnes of meat and by-products are produced from the 7 million tonnes of grain fed to livestock. Almost every location could be food self-sufficient with a plant-based diet and equitable land distribution.
More and more individuals are requesting that businesses, including McDonald’s, promote color discrimination. In response, McDonald’s declared that their company had nothing to do with color discrimination.
In spite of this, McDonald’s hopes that by 2035, minorities and underrepresented groups, including women, will hold at least 35 percent of its upper-management and leadership positions.
This announcement, however, came after two Black executives sued McDonald’s for racial discrimination and treatment, bringing national attention to the company.
Four out of every five fast-food employees have experienced workplace burnout, severely and frequently more than once.
There is no worker’s compensation and inconsistent first aid procedures at McDonald’s; in fact, over 33% of employees who suffered burns were instructed to treat them with condiments.
Additionally, the COVID-19 outbreak led to the poor treatment of many fast-food workers—not just those at McDonald’s but in all fast-food companies.
Nevertheless, numerous stories have been written describing the excessive hours, low pay, and hazardous working conditions faced by McDonald’s employees.
For instance, a Mashed.com piece revealed the unequal availability of paid sick leave among McDonald’s employees.
In the past year, 79 percent of American fast-food workers have suffered burns, according to a recent study by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. These burns are frequently wholly avoidable and are brought on by problems including a lack of staff, inadequate safety equipment, and inadequate training.
McDonald’s employees in 19 places have now complained about health and safety conditions, exposing significant shortcomings in the fast-food company’s provision of even the most basic safety precautions for its staff.
Fast-food employees are burned on the job 4 out of 5 times, with multiple burns occurring in 7 out of 10 cases.
More than one-third of employees claim that their store’s safety kit is unavailable, missing, or insufficient. Burns are attributed by 46% of workers to a lack of staff and pressure to complete tasks quickly; 1 in 5 mentions missing or broken safety equipment.
More than one-third of the injured workers were instructed to apply mustard and mayonnaise to their burns.
Approximately half of all fast-food employees reported receiving completely unsuitable burn treatment.
Several news organizations claimed that McDonald’s plastic toys were produced in Hong Kong sweatshops utilizing exploited child labor in 2000.
Following that, McDonald’s “warned” the partner company and started its own investigation in response.
However, given that this association would very certainly have received recent media attention, it is unlikely that McDonald’s would maintain it today.
Still, it does show how challenging it is for a large organization like McDonald’s to handle serious moral and, in this case, human rights transgressions that are taking place directly in front of its eyes.
All in all, is McDonald’s unethical? McDonald’s is unquestionably a profitable fast-food franchise, but as it grows, it becomes more difficult to operate in a way that upholds the public’s expectations for ethical best practices.
That is the reason why McDonald’s is considered unethical because of its behavior towards its employers.
As you can see, the fast-food franchise needs a lot of work to accomplish its ethical aims, but one thing is for certain: we must continue to put pressure on it and demand that it perform better.