Big Mac photo via Wikipedia
Big Mac photo via Wikipedia

A living wage? Some McDonald’s workers claim that they weren’t even paid minimum wage, and now they are taking the fast food giant to court.

McDonald’s Corp. announced on March 13 that it would open an investigation into allegations that it underpaid U.S. staff and deducted expenses that would place certain workers below minimum wage.

“We are currently reviewing the allegations in the lawsuits,” said a McDonald’s spokeswoman. “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.”

A group of 27 named plaintiffs have filed seven different lawsuits against the company, seeking unspecified damages and back pay. The suits, filed in California, Michigan, and New York, all seek class action status.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the suits claim that workers were forced to clock out during times when the restaurant was not busy, and were also denied breaks. Some employees claim to have worked overtime without pay, and others said they were responsible for purchasing and cleaning their own uniforms.

Rather than just naming McDonald’s franchisees as defendants, the law suits name McDonald’s Corp. as a defendant as well. The plaintiffs claim that the company sets unlawful policies that are followed at individual restaurants.

McDonald’s has recently come under fire from labor activists for its employee practices. In many major cities, McDonald’s employees have previously undergone strikes backed by the Service Employees International Union, seeking wages of at least $15 an hour and the ability to join a labor union. McDonald’s has also drawn fire for an internal employee resource hotline that suggested employees seek government assistance or take a second job to make ends meet.


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