McDonald’s workers in New York have filed a lawsuit against their franchise owners and against the corporation behind the franchises in an attempt to get the company to pay for the cost of cleaning their uniforms. It would be unhygenic, if not impossible, not to clean a uniform that is covered in grease, fat, salt and the smell of fast food, but the cost of doing so should not be borne by its underpaid employees, argue the workers. Their lawsuits are part of many other lawsuits filed against the fast-food giant regarding wage and hour laws.
There are very specific laws in place to protect New York workers from being underpaid or denied payment for the hours they work. Because they are a mixture of federal, state and local employment laws, workers who are concerned that they have not been paid their proper wage or have not been paid for the overtime they have worked should speak with a lawyer to discuss what legal options are available. The McDonald’s corporation has tremendous financial resources; they certainly should not be skimping on their employees.
Not only is it unfair for workers to have to pay to clean their own uniforms, it could push employees’ salaries below the minimum wage. Since many fast food workers barely make above minimum wage and minimum wage can hardly provide stability and comfort on Long Island, trying to afford uniform-cleaning bills can be difficult.
McDonald’s wages have been under the microscope since 2012 when one-day strikes hit many New York McDonald’s restaurants. Employees have been demanding a pay increase to $15 an hour.
Source: The New York Times, “McDonald’s Workers File Wage Suits in 3 States,” Steven Greenhouse, March 13, 2014