McDonald's Faces National and State Employment Class Action Lawsuits

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New York, NY: McDonald' workers in California, Michigan and New York this week filed wage and hour action lawsuits in federal and state courts claiming the fast food giant is systematically stealing employees' wages by forcing them to work off the clock, shaving hours off their time cards, and not paying them overtime among other practices.

In three California wage and hour suits, workers claim that McDonald' and its franchise owners failed to pay them for all time worked, failed to pay proper overtime, altered pay records and deprived them of timely meal periods and rest breaks. A fourth case makes similar claims on behalf of a statewide class of workers in McDonald' corporate-owned restaurants, who are adding their claims to a lawsuit for unpaid wages, penalties, and other relief that is already pending against McDonald' in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Plaintiffs in California are represented by Altshuler Berzon LLP, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, and Matern Law Group.

In two Michigan lawsuits, filed against McDonald' Corp., its U.S. subsidiary and two Detroit-area franchisees, workers assert McDonald' regularly forces workers to show up for work at a scheduled time but then has them wait without pay until the store gets busy enough, and that it routinely violates minimum wage laws.

The suits contend that, using McDonald' franchisor standards and corporation-provided software, McDonald' franchisees closely monitor the ratio of labor costs to revenues. When it exceeds a corporate-set target, managers tell workers arriving for their shifts to wait for up to an hour to clock in, and sometimes direct workers who have already clocked in for scheduled shifts to clock out for extended breaks until the target ratio is again achieved. Workers are not paid for these wait times, and McDonald' Corporation knowingly tolerates this practice, in violation of federal labor law.

The suits also allege that McDonald' forces its low-paid workers to buy their own uniforms. Because McDonald' restaurants pay at or near the minimum wage, this drives some workers' real wages below the legal minimum, in violation of federal labor law.

In addition to James & Hoffman, Michigan McDonald' workers are represented by McKnight, McClow, Canzano, Smith & Radtke, P.C.

The case filed in New York federal court seeks to redress McDonald' blatant failure to compensate and reimburse workers at its New York stores for the time and cost of cleaning uniforms??"which McDonald' requires them to wear and to keep clean.

The plaintiffs contend that McDonald' failure to reimburse employees for uniform cleaning violates the New York state requirement to pay workers weekly for uniform maintenance and often also violates both federal and New York state state minimum wage laws.

In addition to Gladstein, Reif and Meginniss LLP, New York McDonald' workers are represented by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.

Taken together, these lawsuits in California, Michigan, and New York contend that McDonald', which brought in nearly $5.6 billion in profits last year, regularly fails to pay workers for all the hours they work.

The allegations are not isolated ones. A survey conducted in New York last year by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research showed that 84 percent of fast-food workers are victims of wage theft.

The California cases are Sanchez v. McDonald' Restaurants of California, Inc., Salazar v. McDonald' Corporation, Hughes v. McDonald' Corporation, and Ochoa v. McDonald' Corporation. The Michigan cases are Pullen v. McDonald' Corporation and Wilson v. McDonald's Corporation. The New York case is Beard v. McDonald' Corporation.

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