Lawsuit Claims McDonald's Is Stealing From Workers

July 12th 2016

Thor Benson

Four current and former McDonald's employees are suing McDonald's, claiming five franchises in California violated labor laws. They claim the franchises did not pay for the proper amount of overtime and did not pay for things like the cost of cleaning and ironing their uniforms.

On Monday, a federal judge certified it as a class action lawsuit, meaning 400 former and current employees from the franchises will be represented in court. The 400 became part of the case because they work or worked at the franchises the plaintiffs have accused of violating labor laws.

mcdonalds headquarters

"These are low-wage workers who really can't afford to be nickel and dimed by huge corporations like McDonald's," B.J. Chisholm, an attorney representing these employees, told ATTN:.

A district court has ruled that McDonald's is not the joint employer for these franchises under "some theories," Chisholm explained, meaning the corporation might not be held directly responsible for the actions of its franchises. However, the court upheld the argument that McDonald's is liable as an "ostensible agent," so the corporation could still be held accountable.

"McDonald's really has the ability to control the working conditions of crew members in the franchisees' stores, and the way McDonald's does control and impose conditions of work on the franchisees and the employees in those stores leads to violations of labor law," Chisholm said. "The goal here is to really hold McDonald's accountable for its actions and the way in which it causes unfair working conditions."

In a statement to ATTN:, McDonald's said the corporation is "pleased" it is not being considered a joint employer in this case.

"We are pleased with the Court’s reaffirmation that McDonald’s is not a joint employer of its franchisees’ employees," the company said. "While we are disappointed with the Court’s decision to allow a select few of Plaintiffs’ surviving claims to proceed on a class-wide basis, we trust the legal process and are confident that the matter will be favorably concluded."

The trial is expected to happen in the fall, Chisholm said, and will cover the class action claims and individual plaintiffs' claims.

As ATTN: has previously reported, wage theft is a serious issue, and corporations across the country have been accused of engaging in the practice. Companies like Domino's, Papa John's, Walmart and more have all been accused of not paying already-struggling employees what they're owed.