The Fast Food Unpaid Labor Problem

Posted by on Jun 19, 2016 in Economy | 0 comments

The fight for a raise in minimum wage has shifted a focus on the labor practices of the fast food industry. For example, starting December 31, New York City fast food workers will be paid an increased minimum wage of $10.50 per hour. Workers may be getting higher pay, but will the restaurants pay them all that is due for overtime work? According to the FLSA, “Employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek of at least one and one-half times their regular rates of pay.”

Fast Food chains can contribute to the unpaid labor problem by asking employees to work during lunch breaks, during a non-mandatory training program, or by simply making them work off the clock. To be exempt from these laws you must be a worker of higher authority such as an executive position. Also, according to Cary Kane LLP, “To be a Fast Food Establishment the company must be a part of a chain of 30 or more locations.”

The arguable king of fast food, McDonald’s, was sued multiple times for wage theft violations. The suits claim that McDonald’s ignore the laws set by FLSA by forcing employees to work off the clock. Additionally, CNN Money claims that Subway chains have “violated pay and hour rules in more than 1,100 investigations.” A former Subway employee sued a Subway, alleging a denial of minimum wage and overtime pay.

The FLSA specifically outlines labor laws for the fast food industry, which may be overlooked. Many workers are unaware of their rights as laborers. An authority figure may falsely claim an employee as exempt for paid overtime. There seems to be a growing concern for the corrupt labor laws in the fast food industry, outside of the minimum wage issue. While fast food workers are typically pegged as lazy teenagers, some may be actually working for free.

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