McDonald’s faces employee lawsuits in California, 2 other states

Protesters demand a $15-an-hour minimum wage in Los Angeles. McDonald's is facing several lawsuits alleging wage theft.
Protesters demand a $15-an-hour minimum wage in Los Angeles. McDonald’s is facing several lawsuits alleging wage theft.
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

McDonald’s is facing several lawsuits filed this week by fast food workers who accuse the burger giant of systematically stealing their wages and committing other labor violations.

The suits, filed Wednesday and Thursday, are seeking class-action status.

Three complaints filed in the Bay Area allege that McDonald’s failed to pay employees for all hours worked, skimped on overtime wages and break time, and altered pay records.


A fourth case adds similar claims to a lawsuit already pending in Los Angeles County Superior Court against McDonald’s.

Two lawsuits in Michigan allege that workers reporting on time for duty were regularly forced to wait until customers showed up before clocking in for pay. The complaints also accused McDonald’s and its franchisees of requiring workers to buy their own uniforms, the cost of which pushed their real wages below the legal minimum.

A single complaint in federal court in New York alleges that McDonald’s did not reimburse employees for weekly costs of uniform cleaning, which plaintiffs argue violates state law.

McDonald’s did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

[Updated, March 13, 10:20 a.m.: McDonald’s spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem said in a statement that the company is reviewing the allegations in the lawsuits.

“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,” she wrote. “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.”]

Activists supporting the suits said the filings could be the first of many, inspired by more than a year of protests and rallies calling for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and the right to form a union without retaliation from fast food employers.

Earlier this month, Reps. George Miller (D-Martinez) and Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut) sent letters to McDonald’s, KFC owner Yum Brands and other fast food chains asking for more details about their pay and training practices.


Sbarro files for second bankruptcy in three years

Starbucks upgrades iPhone app to allow digital tipping

Calm down: The Great Chipotle Guacamole Scare is a non-issue. Right?