By Phil Wahba
March 13 McDonald's Corp workers in
three U.S. states filed lawsuits this week against the fast-food
chain, alleging it is stealing wages by forcing them to work off
the clock, by cheating them out of overtime and by denying them
The seven suits were announced on Thursday by the employees'
lawyers and were filed Wednesday and Thursday in New York,
California and Michigan.
McDonald's spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem said the
company is reviewing the allegations in the suits.
"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," Barker Sa Shekhem said in a statement.
In Michigan, two lawsuits were filed against McDonald's and
two Detroit-area franchise owners by workers claiming they were
told to come to work, only to be told to wait without pay until
there were enough customers in the restaurant.
In three lawsuits brought in California, the workers claim
they were not paid for all hours worked, were cheated out of
overtime payments, and were not allowed to take meal and rest
breaks they were legally entitled to.
In New York, a suit filed in federal court by several
McDonald's workers said they were not reimbursed for the time
and cost of cleaning their uniforms.
"These are the workers whom McDonald's is deliberately and
systematically denying pay," Joseph Sellers, co-counsel in the
lawsuits filed in California and New York, said on a media call.
"These suits have been filed to stop the widespread wage theft."
The lawyers are seeking class-action status in some of the
suits against McDonald's, saying employees were afraid to file
the suits individually for fear of reprisals.
Five of the lawsuits are aimed at restaurant franchisees as
well as the company. McDonald's owns 10 percent of its
McDonald's has reported nearly two years of turbulent sales
at established U.S. restaurants amid sluggish economic growth,
increased competition and internal missteps that have
complicated its menus and slowed service.
U.S. sales at McDonald's restaurants open at least 13 months
fell 0.2 percent last year.
McDonald's shares were down 1.2 percent at $97.48 on