McDonald’s has been making headlines for the past year due to the fast food giant’s questionable treatment of its employees. For example, in December of 2013, employees walked out and went on strike to demand that they receive a living wage instead of the minimum hourly wage. The protest coincided with recent pressure on the federal government to raise the minimum wage, as well.
Now, employees across the United States have filed seven lawsuits against the corporation, claiming various violations of federal and state wage and hour laws. Four of these seven lawsuits have been filed in California—three in the Bay Area and one in Los Angeles. The other lawsuits were filed in New York and Michigan.
Stealing Wages and More
The allegations against McDonald’s include various labor law violations, including the following:
Employees were not paid for all hours worked;
Employees did not receive proper overtime pay;
Employees who were technically on duty were forced to wait to clock in until customers arrived, and were forced to clock out during customer lulls during the workday;
Pay records were regularly altered to cover up payroll violations;
Employee were required to purchase their own uniforms and to pay to clean their own uniforms on a weekly basis, which pushed their pay below minimum wage;
Employees were barred from taking their rightful rest and meal breaks under the law.
Though 27 plaintiffs were actually involved in filing the lawsuits, they are seeking class action certification because they state they represent thousands of workers for the company nationwide. The employees are seeking back pay and other damages.
A spokesperson for McDonald’s stated that the company will investigate the allegations and the specific franchisees involved. The spokesperson took care to remind the media that many McDonald’s restaurants are run by independent owner-operators and, in fact, 90 percent of the nearly 14,000 American McDonald’s locations are owned by independent franchisees.
However, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit brought the claims against the franchisees as well as the McDonald’s corporation as a whole. This is because they claim that the corporation creates policies and procedures for the independent owner-operators to follow and, therefore, the company as a whole is also responsible for the labor law violations.
Though McDonald’s was previously under fire for only paying employees the minimum hourly wage, there had not been specific allegations that the company was breaking any labor laws and there was only social backlash. Now, if the most recent claims by the employees are substantiated, McDonald’s could face millions of dollars in back pay, damages, and civil penalties and could face other legal repercussions.
Employees have the right to get paid at least the minimum wage for all time worked, to not have unfair deductions taken from their paychecks, and to receive all of the break time mandated by law. If you believe your employer has violated wage and hour laws, the Pershing Square Law Firm can help you stand up for your rights. Do not hesitate to contact our office today to discuss a possible case.