Hundreds of thousands of McDonald’s employees in Australia could be entitled to payouts as the fast-food mogul is facing a potential class action lawsuit.
According to estimations, some 250,000 former and present McDonald’s employees in Australia could see compensations provided the company or its franchisees failed to provide their workers with paid breaks.
The proposed class action lawsuit against the company is being led by the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union and Shine Lawyers and follows after a former employee of the fast-food chain won a lawsuit against a McDonald’s franchisee.
In her case, Chiara Staines claimed that her workplace rights had been violated as her breaks were not paid in accordance with the Fair Work Act.
After winning the case against McDonald’s franchisee Tantex Holdings, Staines was reimbursed $800 for the time previously not paid and compensated with an additional $1,000.
Following the successful lawsuit, lawyers and the workers’ union have decided to seek justice for thousands of former and current McDonald’s employees who, possibly, weren’t paid for their breaks.
“This breach could be the tip of the iceberg with potentially hundreds of thousands of staff, both past and present, affected, if McDonald’s and its franchisees have breached the Fair Work Act across the board,” Vicky Antzoulatos of Shine Lawyers said.
“Every Australian McDonald’s worker has the legal right to a paid break when working a shift of four hours or more. This is in addition to workers’ rights to access the toilet or to take a drink of water outside scheduled breaks.”
As the attorney added, some 250,000 McDonald’s workers could potentially see similar payouts if their rights were also violated by the company or its franchisees.
Speaking of the allegations, McDonald’s insisted they “are unable to comment on the veracity of the trade association’s claims” as they have “yet to receive any notification of the proposed class action.”
“We continue to work closely with our restaurants to ensure employees receive all the correct workplace entitlements and pay. We are of course disappointed this did not happen in the instance of Tantex Holdings Pty Ltd,” the company’s spokesperson said.
“As was represented to the Court at the time, the franchisee’s breach of the Enterprise Agreement was unintentional and did not result in any form of underpayment of wages.”
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