Burger behemoth McDonald’s has reportedly reached a settlement with hundreds of franchise employees in California, which campaigners and attorneys are saying could be a precedent-setting development in the fight for fair wages.
In the settlement, revealed in a Friday filing in a U.S. district court in San Francisco, McDonald’s agreed to pay a total of $3.75 million in back pay and legal fees to roughly 800 employees of five restaurants owned by a single franchisee, Smith Family LP.
The Smith group and McDonald’s were accused of “violat[ing] California law by failing to pay overtime, keep accurate pay records, and reimburse workers for time spent cleaning uniforms,” Reuters reported on Monday.
Not only is this the first time the company has reached a settlement with franchise workers, it comes as the fast food giant faces claims that it is indeed responsible for the treatment of its workers at franchise restaurants.
The question of whether the fast food giant is “joint employer” of its franchise workers, which McDonald’s has denied, is currently being weighed in a case before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).