McDonald’s Corp. agreed to pay $26 million to settle a class action filed by more than 38,000 cooks and cashiers at corporate-owned restaurants in California, after workers threatened to protest if there was no resolution to the long-running litigation and extended negotiations.
The company also agreed, as part of the preliminary settlement agreement, to change its training and overtime system to prevent such alleged wage theft in the future. Advocates for the Fight for $15 movement called the settlement the highest ever against McDonald’s for alleged wage violations in the U.S.
The settlement stems from a 2013 class action that accused the company of violating overtime laws through a system that kept track of time based on the day a worker’s shift started, not when the work was actually performed. It also accused the restaurants of not providing rest breaks and requiring workers to clean their uniforms without paying them or reimbursing them for those expenses.
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The settlement in California should signal to companies to be aware that violations against individual workers add up and it can be costly for those who don’t comply, said Michael Rubin, with Altshuler Berzon, who represents the workers in the class action.
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Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll and Matern Law Group also represent the workers. Jones Day represents McDonald’s.
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