HamBurgled: The Story of Wage Theft in the Fast-food Industry

Employee is on rally because of minimum wage is not metBeing a fast-food worker is not at all easy. Imagine working hard for long hours only to get a meager amount to make both ends meet. Worse, the rising costs of living makes it doubly hard for minimum wage earners to live a decent life. Adding insult to the injury, some fast-food employees become victims of wage theft in the workplace.

Wage Theft in the Fast-food Industry
Advocacy group “Low Pay Is Not OK”(read more) recently held a survey asking employees if they believe that they are victims of wage theft. According the poll, nine out of 10 individuals who work in the fast-food industry believe that they have been victims of wage theft. The results are a clear indication why labor lawsuits were filed and workers are holding protest actions. The group also made mention of the accounts of two former managers of fast-food giant McDonald’s. These former employees discussed how they were forced to help boost profits to the detriment of the service crew. They committed employment and labor law violations by inserting unpaid breaks in the schedule of workers, shaved hours from the latter’s shifts and moved hours from one week to the other so that the management can dodge overtime pays.

Shocking Numbers
In the survey, 1,088 fast-food workers from 10 major cities across the United States were asked. They revealed the following:

  • Among the three popular hamburger chains, Burger King had the most number of workers that fell victim to wage theft at 92 percent compared to McDonald’s 84 percent, and Wendy’s 82 percent.
  • Three out of five fast-food employees received lower overtime wages for the extra time they worked.
  • Most fast-food chains do not just commit wage theft alone but also commit other employment and labor law violations that include gender discrimination.

Yes, employees can file employment and labor law violations against these companies and ask compensation for the losses they have incurred. However, a Los Angeles labor attorney believes that something has to be done about these rampant commission of such violations. This blatant disregard of these fast-food companies of existing laws should make authorities rethink of their strategies to protect the rights of these poorly paid and over worked employees.


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