After a seven-year battle 38,000, McDonald’s workers have been awarded $26 million by a Los Angeles County Superior Court. The court ruled against McDonald’s Restaurants of California Inc. over an array of claims, including failure to pay minimum and overtime wages and inadequate rest and meal breaks.
The lawsuit focused on corporate-owned McDonald’s that used a timekeeping system designed to bar workers from rest breaks, cheat them out of earned overtime, and have to pay out-of-pocket for cleaning and ironing their uniforms.
Once approved by the judge, this will mark the largest wage settlement ever against the Chicago-based fast-food giant. McDonald’s has been a target of labor organizers for years.
But that isn’t the only problem the home of the Big Mac faces.
On November 12, the American Civil Liberties Union sued McDonald’s on behalf of Michigan workers who claim sexual harassment has gone unchecked in its restaurants.
Adding to its legal woes, a group of Chicago-area workers sued McDonald’s on November 21 over a redesign in their stores that made them vulnerable to attacks by angry customers.
Of the California lawsuit, a McDonald’s spokesperson said the restaurant chain takes its employees seriously and strives to treat its employees fairly. McDonald’s Corp offered a written statement saying:
While we continue to believe our employment practices comply with the California Labor Code, we have decided to resolve this lawsuit filed back in early 2013. With this settlement, the parties have reached a mutually acceptable resolution and have submitted the settlement to the Court for its review and approval.
The company also issued new options and rules that cover rest breaks and meal periods. Employees’ uniforms will also be provided at no cost when they become damaged or worn.
McDonald’s agreed, as a part of the settlement, to compensate employees with a one-hour wage premium on days they aren’t provided a timely rest or meal break. The company said it will allow workers to leave their store during meal breaks “without restrictions.” The company said it will also no longer require workers to take breaks at the beginning or end of shifts