September 01, 2016

Wage and hour investigations were on the menu at thousands of fast-food franchises during the Obama administration, pulling in millions of dollars in back pay for workers. Since President Barack Obama took office, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division has subjected the nation’s three largest quick-service restaurants by volume of stores—Subway, McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts—to 2,023 investigations.

Michael Hancock, who previously was the Wage and Hour Division’s assistant administrator for policy in this administration, told Bloomberg BNA that the enforcement activity and noncompliance numbers reflect the agency’s allocation of limited resources in high-violation areas, as well as pressure on franchise owners to cut labor costs.  “You know the old saying, ‘You fish where the fish are.’ Well, they’re getting pretty good at knowing where the fish are,” said Hancock, who is now of counsel at plaintiffs’ firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC in Washington.

This article originally appeared in Bloomberg BNA.