McDonald's workers in California, Michigan and New York filed lawsuits this week against the company and several franchise owners, claiming that they illegally underpaid employees by erasing hours from their time cards, not paying overtime and ordering them to work off the clock.
The lawsuits were announced Thursday in a telephone conference by the employees' lawyers and organizers of the union-backed movement that is pressing the nation's fast-food restaurants to increase wages to at least $15 an hour.
In two lawsuits filed in Michigan against McDonald's and two Detroit-area franchise owners, workers claimed that their restaurants told them to show up to work, but then ordered them to wait an hour or two without pay until enough customers showed up.
Their lawsuit also argued that the requirement by McDonald's that employees pay for their uniforms resulted in expenses that often illegally reduced their pay below the federal minimum wage.
"Our wages are already at rock bottom," Sharnell Grandberry, a McDonald's worker in Detroit and a plaintiff in the Michigan lawsuit, said in a news release. "It is time for McDonald's to stop skirting the law to pad profits."
McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Ill., said in a statement that it is investigating the allegations and will take any necessary actions.
"McDonald's and our independent owner-operators share a concern and commitment to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald's restaurants," the company said.
NEW YORK TIMES