Labor & Employment Law Daily McDonald’s employees file suit, administrative complaint over unsafe working conditions during COVID-19
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

McDonald’s employees file suit, administrative complaint over unsafe working conditions during COVID-19

By WK Editorial Staff

Employees in Illinois and California accused the fast-food chain and franchises of failing to protect workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chicago. Five McDonald’s employees, and their family members, have filed a class action lawsuit in Cook County circuit court alleging that the company has not protected workers from the coronavirus. The restaurant workers contend that McDonald’s has not provided adequate hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks. Additionally, local managers have refused to tell employees when a coworker has been diagnosed with COVID-19, have accused employees of stealing protective equipment, and have not implemented social distancing protocols.

The complaint alleges violations of Illinois common law for maintaining a public nuisance and for negligence.

One of the named plaintiffs told the Chicago Tribune that she disclosed her positive coronavirus test to her managers, who did nothing, and that her coworkers only learned that she was sick because she disclosed her diagnosis in a Facebook post. Another plaintiff told the newspaper that when she complained to her managers that many of her coworkers were sick and coughing, they failed to take any action other than telling employees to “cover their mouths.”

The proposed class seeks injunctive relief against McDonald’s and a Chicago-area franchisee requiring the defendants to provide employees with adequate protective equipment, discontinue its practice of requiring workers to reuse face masks, provide hand sanitizer for workers, and inform employees when they have been exposed to COVID-19 by a coworker.

McDonald’s denies the allegations in the lawsuit. In a statement to TODAY, the company said “PPE is in ample supply for all restaurants, as masks, gloves and protective barriers are required at all restaurants; to-date, more than 100 million masks have been distributed to crew.”

The complaint, Massey v. McDonald’s Corp., was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois on May 19, 2020.

California. Employees of McDonald’s restaurants in Los Angeles, Monterey Park, and San Jose have filed complaints with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health alleging that their managers failed to inform them when coworkers were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Employees at the Monterey Park location allege that an employee who was infected with COVID-19 was allowed to return to work one day after calling in sick, and while she was still exhibiting symptoms of the virus.

McDonald’s has 33 days to correct the alleged violations at its California restaurants.

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