McDonald's Workers Allege Wage Theft

Last week, McDonald's workers in three states filed seven lawsuits alleging that the company is systematically stealing wages through illegal pay practices including failure to pay overtime, forced work off the clock, and erasing hours from their timecards.  The lawsuits, filed in California, Michigan and New York, also accuse McDonald’s of denying workers meal periods and rest breaks, and requiring employees to buy their own uniforms or pay to clean those uniforms -- practices that brought the workers pay below the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.  Five of the seven lawsuits also name some of the company’s individual franchisees as defendants.  Two lawsuits filed in Michigan against McDonald’s and the Detroit-area franchise owners, allege that the restaurants told the worker to show up to work, but then ordered them to wait an hour or two without pay until enough customers arrived.  

These allegations are not unique to McDonald's -- these are the kinds of complaints our office often hears from restaurant employees and workers at car washes.  In fact, they are similar to the facts in several of our current and recent cases.  The McDonald's cases are remarkable for their potential size.  Just one of the cases was filed against the roughly 100 McDonald’s restaurants in California that are company-owned and operated.  That lawsuit seeks to be a class action representing 27,000 current and former McDonald’s employees.

If you want to learn more generally about these kinds of pay practices and their legality, visit our website here.

 

Koch Foods Agrees to Pay Unpaid Overtime Wages to Poultry Workers

A poultry plant in Mississippi agreed to pay 174 workers $326,971 after an investigation by the DOL. Koch Foods, the company that owns and operates the plant, did not pay its employees the required overtime premium (time and a half) for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The company also neglected to pay some employees drive time for transporting crews to work sites in violation of federal law. Lawsuits and Department of Labor enforcement actions aimed at illegal pay practices in the meat and poultry processing industries are quite common. Typically, these claims relate to the failure to pay for all hours worked by the employees.

Arkansas Workers Sue Tyson for Overtime Violations

Employees from Tyson Foods, Inc. poultry processing plants in Arkansas filed a lawsuit against Tyson for overtime pay violations (Adams, et al. v. Tyson Foods, Inc., U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas). The lawsuit claims that Tyson violated the FLSA by failing to pay its employees for the time spent donning and doffing required gear and equipment, as well as time spent walking, waiting, and performing other job duties “off the clock.” Tyson is facing lawsuits throughout the U.S. for alleged FLSA overtime pay violations at its chicken processing and meat processing facilities

Tyson and others in the poultry and meat processing industries have longstanding differences with workers and the U.S. Department of Labor over industry pay practices.  These differences appeared to be finally resolved when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of workers in Alvarez v. IBP.  Still IBP (now Tyson) and other employers refuse to pay workers for time spent donning and doffing required gear and equipment.  According to the Department of Labor workers should be paid for this time.