November 26, 2019
Operator of five McDonald’s franchise locations in Queens must pay $155,000 in restitution to 280 workers for violating Fair Workweek and Paid Safe and Sick Leave laws
NEW YORK––Today, on the two year anniversary of the Fair Workweek Law, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas announced a settlement with the operator of five McDonald’s locations to resolve violations of the City’s Fair Workweek and Paid Safe and Sick Leave laws. DCWP’s investigation found that management at these five McDonald’s locations violated nearly every aspect of both laws and management retaliated against employees who tried to exercise their rights. The settlement requires the owner of the five locations, Thomas Parker of Star Parker LLC, to pay $155,000 in restitution to their 280 workers.
“Make no mistake: in our city, fast food workers have the right to predicable schedules and Paid Safe and Sick Leave,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “No worker should be afraid to exercise their rights, and any corporation that retaliates against workers will be met with the full force of the law.”
“Violating a worker’s right to paid safe and sick leave and a predictable schedule is not only illegal, it is immoral. It is unacceptable that employers continue to retaliate against employees for exercising their rights,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Let this settlement be an example to all employers who think they are above the law – you are not. We are committed to protecting New Yorkers and urge any fast food worker experiencing workplace violations to file a complaint with our office.”
As a result of worker complaints, DCWP investigated the five McDonald’s locations in Queens owned and operated by Thomas Parker and Star Parker LLC. The investigation revealed that that these locations failed to provide schedules to employees, failed to get written consent from employees when schedules were changed, failed to pay employee premiums when schedules were changed without two weeks’ advance notice, scheduled employees to work “clopenings” without their consent, had an illegal sick leave policy and failed to let employees use sick leave. The investigation also uncovered that the company and Mr. Parker retaliated against employees who tried to exercise their rights by taking away their shifts, reducing hours and even firing a worker.
Under the settlement, Star Parker LLC’s McDonald’s must:
Under the Fair Workweek Law, which went into effect on November 26, 2017, fast food employers in New York City must give workers good faith estimates of when and how much they will work, predictable work schedules, and the opportunity to work newly available shifts before hiring new workers. Fast food employers also cannot schedule workers to work a clopening unless workers consent in writing and are paid a $100 premium to work the shift. Under the Law, retail employers must also give workers advanced notice of work schedules and may not schedule workers for on-call shifts or change workers’ schedules with inadequate notice. The required You Have a Right to a Predictable Work Schedule must be posted in any language that is the primary language of at least five percent of the workers at the workplace if available on DCWP’s website.
Since the law went into effect, DCWP has received more than 290 complaints about Fair Workweek, closed more than 120 investigations, and obtained resolutions requiring more than $1,330,000 combined fines and restitution for more than 2,900 workers.
Under the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year in New York City must provide paid safe and sick leave to employees. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide unpaid safe and sick leave. All covered employers are required to provide their employees with the Notice of Employee of Rights that includes information in English and, if available on the DCWP website, the employee’s primary language. Employers must provide the notice on the first day of an employee’s employment. Employers must have a written sick leave policy that meets or exceeds the requirements of the Law.
Since the law went into effect, DCWP has received more than 2040 complaints about Paid Safe and Sick Leave, closed more than 1780 investigations, and obtained resolutions requiring more than $11,490,000 combined fines and restitution for more than 35,300 workers.
DCWP’s case was handled by Agency Attorneys Emily Hoffman, Katie Harrigan, Margot Finkel, Investigator Christina Hwang, and Supervising Investigator Juana Abreu under the supervision of Director of Litigation Claudia Henriquez, of the Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS). OLPS is led by Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Holt.
Senator Jessica Ramos, Chair of the Senate Labor Committee, said, “Wage theft is rampant in New York, to the tune of $1 billion per year, so bringing these five Queens McDonald’s restaurants to justice is a real step towards ending the systemic abuse of workers in our city. These fast food workers toiled shift after shift to feed their families and make ends meet, and have the right to paid time off. Labor law enforcement in the restaurant industry is sorely needed, and I commend Mayor de Blasio and DCWP Commissioner Salas for conducting this investigation and making sure employers in New York City are complying with the Fair Workweek Law.”
“We have fought hard for worker protections in the Council,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “As Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, I am pleased that there are tangible consequences for bad actors in the workforce, and the announcement today will no doubt deter similar behavior. However, my hope going forward is that the city's education and outreach efforts will help ensure that management understands the rules of engagement, that workers are being treated appropriately, and that businesses are thriving. All labor has dignity, and all workers must be treated with this principle in mind.”
"Worker protection laws mean nothing if companies can get away with violating them. It is completely unacceptable that McDonald's has knowingly violated the Fair Workweek and Paid Safe and Sick Leave laws, going so far as to retaliate against employees who tried to exercise their rights. I am proud of these workers for standing up and demanding their rights be respected, and am glad that the Mayor and the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection worked to settle this case. As Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing, I join the Mayor and the Commissioner in encouraging other workers to come forward, and hope that McDonald's will swiftly resolve these injustices," said Council Member Rafael Espinal.
“Thank you to the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for investigating and holding these McDonald’s franchisees accountable for blatantly violating the rights of their workers to a fair and sustainable work environment. And thank you to the McDonald’s workers who took the risk of speaking out for themselves and their colleagues. Proud to be your partner in winning the fair work week protections that all workers are due. Fast food workers deserve to be able to care for themselves and their families, including the right to advance notice of their work schedules, compensation when they are required to work on short notice, and to stay home when they are sick,” said Council Member Brad Lander.
"The Fair Workweek Law is an important and groundbreaking protection for workers who should be able to have the opportunity to get full-time hours and stable, predictable schedule, if the employers follow the law. Violations of the law by fast food companies, like McDonald’s, are hurting local communities by making it hard for fast food workers to plan their lives. We applaud the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for their steadfast enforcement of the law," said 32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg.
“The de Blasio administration’s strong enforcement of the Fair Workweek and Paid Safe and Sick Leave Laws sends a powerful message to workers that the city has your back and an equally strong message to employers that violating workers’ rights will not be tolerated,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society, an anti-poverty organization that has fought hard to raise labor standards. “We commend the City’s actions today to ensure that all workers have reasonable notice of their schedules and paid sick time. These are two essentials for a decent life and fair working conditions, things that most middle class people take for granted, but low-wage workers often lacked prior to the passage of these landmark NYC laws.”
"A Better Balance was proud to be a part of the coalition that worked to enact the Fair Workweek Law, which ensures low wage workers are protected from abusive scheduling practices that make it difficult to work and care for a family. We applaud the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for robustly enforcing this law, investigating violations and holding businesses accountable, sending the message that no business is exempt from respecting their workers' rights," said Sherry Leiwant, Co-President, A Better Balance.
“McDonald’s and many of the fast food chains have a disturbing record of subjecting their workers to abusive and dangerous conditions. NELP applauds Mayor de Blasio’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for stepping in to protect the fast food workforce and hold McDonald’s franchisees accountable for their failure to comply with New York City’s paid safe and sick leave law and predictable scheduling law,” said Paul Sonn, State Policy Program Director for the National Employment Law Project.