When Scandal Erupted on YouTube, McDonald's Tweeted Back

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Mitch Wagner
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Re: McDonalds
Mitch Wagner   5/23/2011 6:11:35 PM
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smkinoshita - Letting the victim decide whether to terminate the employee sounds great at first, but it adds complications to a time in her life which is already very difficult. Better for McDonald's to approach her discreetly about helping her out, but otherwise leave her alone. 

smkinoshita
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Re: McDonalds
smkinoshita   5/23/2011 3:08:30 PM
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Two points here:

1.  How long will people remember or act?

The general public has a notoriously short attention span.  No matter what McDonald's does, people are going to forget and it won't change the eating habits of the majority of their customers.  

2.  What would the "Right thing" be?

Actually I think the "Right thing" would have been to make the employee who taped it, and those involved in the beating, publicaly apologize on YouTube.  Then attend classes to educate themselves on what it's like.  

And then, when all is said and done, allow the victim to decide whether or not to forgive those involved.  If the victim chose to forgive, the employee would be allowed to retain employment... if not, termination.  This way, the full consequences of actions can be shown to the public and regardless lessons will have been learned.  This publicly visible & truly transparent corrective behaviour would act as its own corrective PR.

Mitch Wagner
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Re: McDonalds repsonse
Mitch Wagner   5/23/2011 10:23:23 AM
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anjaya - I don't know that having a code of conduct would have made any difference in this case. 

If a person witnesses an assault, and that person's reaction is to video it and post the video to YouTube for entertainment, that person is seriously broken, beyond the ability of corporate codes of conduct to repair. 

OTOH, a code of conduct could help keep the merely clueless on the straight and narrow, and sends a message to potential victims of harassment that the company doesn't tolerate persecution. So to that extent it's helpful. 

anjaya
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Re: McDonalds repsonse
anjaya   5/22/2011 12:36:37 PM
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I agree with you, Mitch. If not legally, ethically they should be responsible and least they can do is reach out to the victim. That will show that actions speak louder than words. (For their response on twitter “We are shocked by the video from a Baltimore restaurant showing an assault. This incident is unacceptable, disturbing and troubling.")


This will be a good lesson for the other corporates as well on the damage that could cause with regard to employees' unethical behavior. What I believe is that all companies should have a strict code of conduct on discrimination.

impactnow
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McDonalds
impactnow   5/22/2011 1:23:26 AM
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Mitch I don’t know if anyone of us can say they did the “right thing” but based on our marketing experience they acted appropriately for the circumstances. Only time will tell how the public will respond and how it will impact them as a company.

Dwhite706
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Re: McDonalds repsonse
Dwhite706   5/19/2011 12:21:11 AM
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Mitch,

 

I agree. The McDonald's brand is one of, if not the largest most recognizable brand in the world.  This kind of negative publicity, and their reaction causes damage to that brand and will change some cosumers perception of who the company is and what it stands for.  You have the Ronald McDonald House on one hand, and a display of intollerance on the other.  I Understand that they have many franchisees, and can't police every one and screen every employee, but they have to hold those organizations to the same standards as their owned stores or they are going to do irrepairable damage.

 

And yes, I hope they are going to do the right thing and reach out to the young woman who was attacked and provide whatever help they can.

Mitch Wagner
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Re: McDonalds repsonse
Mitch Wagner   5/18/2011 3:21:32 PM
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anjaya - McDonalds can and should be held responsible for the actions of its employees, if not legally then morally. OTOH, a company that employs 400,000 people, many of them working for extremely low wages, can be expected to employ a few violent psychos. Who did John Wayne Gacy work for? Ted Bundy?

The question is how does McDonald's react? They seem to have behaved reasonably. I'd like to see them reach out privately to the victim in this case --  well, actually, I might not actually see that if the victim prefers to keep arrangements confidential -- and to transgender groups and TG employees (because surely McDonald's has a few TG employees among its 400K). 

anjaya
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Re: McDonalds repsonse
anjaya   5/18/2011 11:26:59 AM
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Mitch,

Occasionally, someone would speak up to say that McDonald's could not be held responsible for the action of every employee, or make a distinction between the role of the corporation or the franchisee, or to make some allowance for due process in judging the actions of the employees. But ethically can this be justified?
The impact might be minimal on McDonalds regarding the particular action of their employees. But people are waiting to see the reaction of McDonalds on the same. 
Many people believe that unethical behavior among employees actually tests their own values and ethical behaviors of a company. Unethical behavior that is not illegal frequently falls in a grey area between right and wrong that makes it difficult to decide what to do when it is encountered.

Mitch Wagner
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Re: McDonalds repsonse
Mitch Wagner   5/18/2011 11:07:39 AM
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impactnow - I don't know if McDonald's did the right thing. I just can't think of an alternative. I don't know that there was a right thing to do here. 

impactnow
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McDonalds repsonse
impactnow   5/18/2011 12:51:31 AM
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I agree that McDonalds did the right thing. This is an emotionally charged issue and it has significant legal and HR implications, the comments were appropriate until a full investigation is complete and the parties responsible are brought to justice and the employees involved are disciplined appropriately. After the incident is resolved they should post a summary response and indication of what is being done to prevent such incidents in the future.

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