Mickey D’s Workers: We Deserve a Break from Forced Unpaid OT

McDonald’s employees in three states have filed six lawsuits accusing the fast-food giant of wage theft, alleging practices the workers say drop their wages below the federal minimum.

Following months of "Fight for $15" protests calling on higher wages for fast-food workers, some California McDonald's employees have joined in six lawsuits filed in three states. Patch file photo.
Following months of "Fight for $15" protests calling on higher wages for fast-food workers, some California McDonald's employees have joined in six lawsuits filed in three states. Patch file photo.
Originally posted at 2:54 p.m. March 13, 2014.

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.

MFriedrich March 14, 2014 at 05:59 PM
Christie, based on the article, the employees were right to file a complaint. No question. What I meant by my comment "labor rarely thinks about the unintended consequences" is that following successful litigation against business, businesses tend to overreact in their policy execution. I think that could bite everyone. The guilty franchises deserve to be raked over the coals, but how will other franchises respond? Yes, they will pay people for deserved overtime. But what else will they do? Some franchises(many) may choose to ban OT opportunity all together, which would royally suck for some workers who really need the extra OT hours. For the majority of workers, McDonalds is a transitional job, not a career-maker. Unfortunately, a great number of Americans rely on McDonalds work and OT to pay off debts and make ends meet. I'm all for the victory in the court room to ensure people are not withheld wages due. I'm worried about the oversteering of businesses after the fact to curb litigation risks.
andy k. liberman March 14, 2014 at 09:28 PM
RAISE SANTA MONICA, on Facebook, fighting for a $15 minimum wage for all working Santa Monicans
ChristieD March 15, 2014 at 12:44 AM
@ MFriedrich; I would hope that Most McD franchisees would not be so immoral as to rob their employees like these ones did. I am sure that the majority of the Franchisees abhor the kind of publicity that this has generated. And besides, if they are ethical and follow the law, they have nothing to worry about. I understand your point about "oversteering" but the other side of the coin is that this behavior would continue and perhaps even spread if not dealt with, swiftly and surely. This was absolutely the best, and probably the only, action to make sure this illegal behavior did not continue. And now McD corporate will make sure that it does not continue. Those employers who currently offer OT hours and pay to their employees will continue to do so...they have done nothing wrong. They are most likely as irritated by these franchisees/managers actions and immoral behavior as we are. Like I said, no one wants this kind of publicity!
John March 17, 2014 at 07:07 PM
Pay these people what they have coming to them. They deserve the overtime pay and not the shaft. The prices may go up and maybe the top of the organization may have a pay cut, but don't take the money from the people that need it the most. I do not understand the greed of some people. So you have to pay an additional $.50 for your Big Mack. What kind of greedy (bad word) would be so stingy to keep these people from getting paid. Shame on all of you that are against this!
andy k. liberman March 17, 2014 at 07:09 PM
...we should get $.50 NOT to eat a "Big Mac"


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