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.A New York lawsuit also claims that costs associated with McDonald's required uniforms brought workers' pay below minimum wage in some cases.
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 of $7.25 an hour. [...]
In three lawsuits brought in California, the workers are suing McDonald’s and its franchise owners, claiming that they did not pay them for all hours worked, cheated them out of overtime, shaved hours from pay records and denied them legally required meal periods and rest breaks.
McDonald's got some very bad publicity last fall for advising an employee to apply for food stamps and suggesting, on the same website, that workers sell their stuff on eBay and also take two vacations a year. It's also been a prime target of the one-day strikes by fast food workers across the country. But, Josh Eidelson suggests:
The most significant threat posed by the potential class actions – one apparent arm in a campaign of media, consumer, political, economic, and workplace pressure on fast food giants – may be its potential to draw scrutiny and force disclosures about the relationship between the giant McDonald’s corporation, which netted over $5 billion in profit last year, and its smaller individual franchisees, which are the legal employers of most McDonald’s workers. “In the past, McDonald’s has tried to shield itself from liability,” said Joseph Sellers, one of the attorneys bringing suit. But “we found evidence that McDonald’s has indeed exerted control over the daily operations” of the franchised stores that “makes it legally jointly responsible” for the alleged crimes.McDonald's has so far not responded publicly to the lawsuits; it's a fairly safe bet that its initial response, at least, will be along the lines of its responses to strikes, that the company and its franchise owners are "committed to providing our employees with opportunities to succeed." Where exactly making them work off the clock falls on the list of opportunities to succeed is not clear.