A group of fast food employees that has been pushing for higher wages said on Thursday that it has filed seven lawsuits alleging wage theft against McDonald’s Corp. and some of its franchisees.
The suits, which are all seeking class certification or collective action certification, have been filed in either state or federal court in California, Michigan and New York. The 13 named plaintiffs in the cases allege they weren’t paid for overtime hours worked, not reimbursed for the expense of purchasing and cleaning uniforms and being made to clock out during times when sales were slow in the restaurants, among other things.
Fast food workers, in a campaign backed by the Service Employees International Union, have been criticizing the industry for months, holding protests across the country calling on restaurant chains to raise wages to 5 an hour. They have been targeting McDonald’s, in particular, for some of its messages on an employee resource hotline and website, including suggestions that workers seek government assistance or get a second job to make ends meet.
“McDonald’s and our independent owner-operators share a concern and commitment to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald’s restaurants,” a McDonald’s spokeswoman said. “We are currently reviewing the allegations in the lawsuits. 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.”
Attorneys representing the workers say some of the plaintiffs were referred to them by the Service Employees International Union.
The pressure on McDonald’s comes amid a debate in Washington over whether to raise the federal minimum wage to 0.10 an hour, from .25.
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