McDonald's hit by worker lawsuits claiming it steals wages

Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:05pm EDT
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By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp workers in three U.S. states filed lawsuits this week against the fast-food chain, alleging it is stealing wages by forcing them to work off the clock, by cheating them out of overtime and by denying them rest breaks.

The seven suits were announced on Thursday by the employees' lawyers and were filed Wednesday and Thursday in New York, California and Michigan.

McDonald's spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem said the company is reviewing the allegations in the suits.

"McDonald's and our independent franchisees are committed to undertaking a comprehensive investigation of the allegations and will take any necessary actions as they apply to our respective organizations," Barker Sa Shekhem said in a statement.

In Michigan, two lawsuits were filed against McDonald's and two Detroit-area franchise owners by workers claiming they were told to come to work, only to be told to wait without pay until there were enough customers in the restaurant.

In three lawsuits brought in California, the workers claim they were not paid for all hours worked, were cheated out of overtime payments, and were not allowed to take meal and rest breaks they were legally entitled to.

In New York, a suit filed in federal court by several McDonald's workers said they were not reimbursed for the time and cost of cleaning their uniforms.

"These are the workers whom McDonald's is deliberately and systematically denying pay," Joseph Sellers, co-counsel in the lawsuits filed in California and New York, said on a media call. "These suits have been filed to stop the widespread wage theft."   Continued...

The corporate logo of McDonald's Corp fast food chain is seen on display in the Malaysian town of Pekan May 4, 2013. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad