Three Class Action Suits Filed Against McDonald’s Alleging Wage Theft

Three separate class action lawsuits have been filed against fast food giant McDonald’s in California, New York, and Michigan alleging various types of wage theft. 

The California case alleges that McDonald’s undercompensated workers for the overtime hours they worked.  It is not clear from the article whether McDonald’s is alleged to have paid the employees for fewer overtime hours than they actually worked, failed to pay overtime wages to employees who were eligible to receive overtime wage, and/or paid overtime to the employees but at a rate less than what the law required, all of which would constitute theft of overtime wages.

The New York case involves allegations that employees were required to clean uniforms but were not compensated for the time they spent doing so.  Generally, federal law does not require employers to compensate employees for time spent cleaning uniforms or other clothing worn while at work so one would assume New York has a specific state law that provides otherwise.  Indiana has no such law.

The Michigan case involves “waiting time.”  “Waiting time” is a phrase used to describe downtime in a variety of industries.  While these cases are often very fact-sensitive, employees who are required by their employer to be available to perform work when the need arises are generally required to be paid (a/k/a paid to wait) whereas employees who, for example, arrive early for their shift on their own accord are not (a/k/a wait to be paid).  The allegations in the Michigan case are that employees were required to show up to work at a given time but were not allowed to clock in (and therefore were not paid) while business was slow.  If the allegations turn out to be true, this would be much more typical of a paid to wait scenario than a wait to be paid one and the Michigan employees should be in a strong position to prevail on their wage theft claims.

You can read more about these lawsuits here:

http://www.salon.com/2014/03/13/breaking_mcdonalds_workers_mount_class_action_suits_in_three_states/