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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

On the Two-Year Anniversary of the Fair Workweek Law, de Blasio Administration Announces Settlement with Mcdonald's Franchise for Violations of Workers' Rights

NYC Dept of Consumer Affairs and Worker Protection Facebook Page Photo

NEW YORK––On the two year anniversary of the Fair Workweek Law this past November 26, 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:

Pay $155,000 in restitution to its workers. Two workers who were retaliated against for exercising their rights will receive a total of $13,385 in restitution and the other employees will receive approximately $500 each.

Retain an independent compliance monitor to ensure its compliance with the City’s workplace laws and proper recordkeeping.

Train all managers, supervisors and other necessary personnel on the City’s Fair Workweek and Paid Safe and Sick Leave laws.

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.

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