Shelley Lynn, a former prostitute and employee of the Las Vegas Chicken Ranch brothel, has claimed in a federal court complaint that McDonald's played a role in her becoming a sex worker, the Consumerist reports.
Lynn is suing McDonald's along with her ex-husband and his company Ivernia, which owned the local McDonald's franchise where Lynn was employed as a cashier 20 years ago, according to the complaint obtained by Courthouse News Service.
Handley "emotionally and psychologically" coerced Lynn into prostitution in part because McDonald's paid her minimum wage, offered a poor health care plans and no benefits and had no system for filing grievances against employers who abused their power, according to the complaint. All of these factors allowed Handley, her employer when the two began dating, to unjustly terminate her employment and browbeat her into sex work, Lynn claims.
McDonald's did not return calls for comment.
"[McDonald's] failed to properly supervise and train Handley, as a direct result of which Handley used his position as an employer and conspired with his corporation Ivernia to coerce and bribe two of Ivernia's employees to make false statements against Lynn during Handley's dissolution and to suppress relevant evidence he had disclosed about himself," the complaint read. "Handley also engaged in pimping operations out of the McDonald's franchises he owned."
Lynn is suing McDonald's for lost wages as well as a number of damages, according to the Consumerist. According to the career and workplace review site Glassdoor, the average hourly pay for McDonald's crew members is $7.64 per hour, or around $15,000 per year. In comparison, Taco Bell paid an average of $7.83 per hour, Wendy's paid $7.66 per hour and Burger King paid $8 per hour.
Lynn's ordeal occurred over two decades ago, but economic forces continue to plunge women into sex-related work today. MSNBC reported that employers across the adult entertainment industry have seen an influx of applicants from young women who say they turned to stripping or dancing because they couldn't find a job in the field for which they were educated.
“You’re seeing a lot more beautiful women who are eligible to do so many other things,” Gus Poulos, general manager of New York City’s Sin City gentleman’s club, told reporters.
Additionally, the recent economic downturn and commensurate decrease in job opportunities has forced thousands of young women into sex work in Portugal, the Inter Press Service reports.
On the other hand, strippers in North Dakota have benefitted in areas where the local economy is strong, with some claiming they can make up to $3,000 per night in tips dancing for local oil rig workers.