Fast-food giant McDonald’s is set to pay $26 million to settle claims which involved not compensating 38,000 employees in wages at corporate-run stores across California. According to a CBS news report, the preliminary agreement settles a long battle that began in 2013 when a McDonald’s worker in Los Angeles, Maria Sanchez, filed a lawsuit against the company with three other members signing on. The lawsuit accused the fast-food giant of wage theft as far back as 2009.
Overtime Pay and Breaks
The complaint accused McDonald’s of violating the state’s overtime law, which requires employers to pay overtime when employees have worked more than eight hours in a 24-hour period. The lawsuit stated that McDonald’s structured its timekeeping to circumvent the law by attributing all hours to the day a shift started instead of when the work was actually performed. Employees said they did not get meal or rest breaks during busy days with off time granted only at the beginning and end of shifts.
The class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of 38,000 people employed at establishments owned and operated by the company. A vast majority of McDonald’s restaurants nationwide are run by franchisees. The company said in a statement that it decided to resolve the lawsuit even though it did not believe it had violated the state’s labor law.
Recently, McDonald’s reportedly agreed to resolve allegations that it miscalculated 10 years of holiday pay for employees in New Zealand paying up to tens of millions of dollars. Last week, 17 McDonald’s workers in Chicago filed a lawsuit against the company accusing it of not taking enough measures to protect them from a pattern of violence at its restaurants. Earlier this month, a former employee filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against a Michigan franchisee over alleged sexual harassment.
Protecting Workers’ Rights
Wage theft covers a variety of infractions that can occur when a worker does not receive legally or contractually promised wages. Common forms of wage theft are failure to pay overtime, not giving workers their last paycheck after they leave a job, not paying for all the hours worked, not paying minimum wage or failing to pay a worker for services provided.
When a large group of workers are facing unfair treatment at work, one of the options the employees can take is to file a class-action lawsuit seeking compensation for their monetary losses as well as for emotional distress. An experienced California employment lawyer will not only help workers fight for their rights but also ensure that corporations that break the law are held accountable.