By Beth Dalbey:
Some California McDonald’s Corp. employees are accusing the Illinois-based fast-food giant and its independent restaurants of forcing them to work off the clock and without higher overtime pay, effectively lowering their pay to below the federal minimum wage.
They have joined McDonald’s workers in two other states – Michigan and New York – in six lawsuits accusing McDonald’s Corp. and its independent restaurants of wage theft, Crain’s Chicago Business reports.
In a statement, McDonald’s says the chain is reviewing the workers’ allegations.
"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," the company said.
The lawsuits, filed Wednesday in federal courts, follow months of “Fight for $15” employee protests targeting McDonald’s and other fast-food companies and seeking higher wages.
"It is time for McDonald's to stop skirting the law to pad profits," Sharnell Grandberry, one Michigan plaintiffs and a worker at a Detroit McDonald's, said in a statement. "We need to get paid for the hours we work."
Two lawsuits have been filed in U.S. District Court in Michigan against McDonald’s and two franchises. Employees allege the owners of the franchises forced them to wait until the restaurants began filling with customers before they punched in for their shifts, or until the ratio of labor costs to income revenue reached the acceptable corporate standard, the newspaper said.
They also allege the company – which in a somewhat ironic twist is famous for its “You deserve a break today” advertising slogan – also forced them to take extended unpaid breaks and pay for their own uniforms, further driving their wages below the federal minimum.