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McDonald's employee wins a settlement after being fired for reporting a gas leak

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On Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a $10,000 settlement between a New York McDonald’s franchise and a former employee. The agreement was based on 18 months of part-time labor paid at minimum wage. On April 8, 2013, a part-time minimum wage earning McDonald’s employee tried to report a gas leak to management. After management had discounted the employee’s concern, the employee contacted the fire department to report the leak.

Law enforcement and local firefighters arrived to investigate. After authorities had confirmed the gas leak, the store was closed for the night. Instead of thanking the employee, two different managers fired the employee. Schneiderman found the firing outrageous. He said the employee deserved protection and support from the state.

Warrenone Inc. is the franchisee involved in the lawsuit. New York Labor Law Section 740 forbids employers from retaliating against employees who report an incident that places the public in danger. The New York AG website says the franchisee will also set up procedures for handling and researching complaints; the franchisee will also report to the AG quarterly about any complaints about health and safety. They must also report management’s response to the complaints.

Also, McDonald’s is no stranger to lawsuits. In March, the USA Today had reported that McDonald’s workers in three states have sued the McDonald’s corporation and franchises in California, Michigan and New York. Litigation will involve at least six lawsuits for back pay and other damages. The lawsuits also include workers having to wait around before they can clock in and making employees buy their own uniforms.

The McDonald’s website states that 80 percent of its stores are franchises. The website also says the corporation and independent owner operators are reviewing all wage theft allegations, and will take necessary actions to correct the situation.

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