McDonald's Worker Fired After Giving Homeless Man A Hamburger

McDonald's franchise owner denies Leobardo Meza was fired for activism

Fox 5 San Diego
A McDonald's worker was fired last month because he offered food to a homeless person, labor organizers are saying. Leobardo Meza was fired on Oct. 14 by a McDonald's franchise in San Diego after six years of service. And over his career he joined the movement spreading across the country to call for better working conditions for fast food workers. The activists are calling for the federal minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour. Meza, for his part, is saying his activism is what got him fired.

In a statement to AOL Jobs, the franchise owner, Bob Sutherland, denied that the dismissal was caused by either the activism or the incident in question. "I respect an employee's right to protest lawfully and peacefully," Sutherland is quoted as saying in a statement provided by the McDonald's corporate communications team. "The accusations being made are absolutely false... His separation from my business is unrelated to whether or not he gave food to a homeless person."

Sutherland is also saying he's not legally allowed to explain exactly why Meza was fired. And amid the confusion, activists are jumping on the storyline regarding the feeding of a homeless person. As a result, protests attended by several hundred people have been organized at the McDonald's in San Diego. Organizers are saying they won't stop until Meza is reinstated, as was reported by the local Fox outlet.

In speaking to the Fox outlet, Meza expressed a desire to avoid conflict. "I don't want to fight," he said. "I am only fighting for my rights."

According to the local ABC News outlet, Meza recently bought a hamburger for a homeless person stationed outside his McDonald's. And as local man Ken Helms, who says he often spends time outside the franchise, told ABC, "he's being singled out and he's a good, good-hearted soul."

Meza, for his part, has said the practice of helping out the homeless is a "common overlooked practice." Meza participated in the nationwide protests organized by and for fast food workers on August 29. And as AOL Jobs reported, thousands of fast food workers walked out on their job during the day of action, which was organized to mark the 50th Anniversary of the "March on Washington for Jobs and Justice," at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his speech, "I have a dream."

The participants and their supporters are calling for a doubling of the minimum wage to $15. Currently most fast food workers earn incomes closer to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which they say is not sufficient, given that the median age of fast food workers is now 28.

BerlinRosen, the agency that has promoted the fast food protests over the last year, has not responded to requests for an interview from AOL Jobs.

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Filed under: Firings, Unions
Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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Scotty

Simply eat somewhere else. We lack unity in this country today. If everyone familiar with this place simply stops eating there....this guy will be in big trouble....We can teach him a lesson if you all hit him in his back pocket.

November 08 2013 at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CMEL57

Every worker should then be fired for taking free food home for their family at the end of their shift. The customers should protest this restaurant and go elsewhere. Dirtbag owner operator.

November 08 2013 at 10:15 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
DAN TERRY

If you want a job and know what they pay why would you go to work for them if you didn't like what they offer you ?

November 05 2013 at 6:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tenyrsafter1

It seems like a lot of people can't read .....the employee paid for the burger.

November 05 2013 at 1:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2012 Clark 2012

Leobardo the fired mc donalds worker needs to get a job that requires him to do manual heavy labor then his mind won't be so focused on labor rights.

November 05 2013 at 3:42 AM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
Mary

The article said that the worker "bought" a hamburger
for the homeless person. As Johnny Carson would
have said ...... "I hope the fleas of a thousand camels
infest his ass" (the owner of the McDonalds).

November 05 2013 at 2:24 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
proteus12544

My first job was at a MCD in Philadelphia. There were several homeless people that would come in and we would "promo" their food. Meaning they got it for free. This was common knowledge and a common practice. The owner of that store knew and looked the other way. Don't know if this guy was fired for giving a burger to a homeless man but if he was that owner should be ashamed of himself.

November 05 2013 at 1:41 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
kmheminw

It's not up to an individual employee to independently decide the charitable actions of their employer. If this employee felt compelled his employer should consider whatever donation action the employee supports, the employee should have presented such request through the established channels of the employer. To take (even if to give away) an employer's product without the employer's consent sand without payment for said product is theft. Perhaps the employee should have donated his own money for the burger if he felt that strongly about the cause (but not so strongly that he would go through the employer's charitable gifts avenues).

November 05 2013 at 1:15 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to kmheminw's comment
Barry

If you would have read the story you would have read that he did indeed BUY the homeless man the burger.Meza recently bought a hamburger for a homeless person stationed outside his McDonald's. And as local man Ken Helms, who says he often

November 05 2013 at 2:18 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
s5448985

can you read--it says he bought the burger for the man.

February 13 2014 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
attyrunner54

I see many people commenting here have taken the labor organizers' accusations as an absolute truth - that the firing was because of the former employee offering food to a homeless person. But as the article noted "In a statement to AOL Jobs, the franchise owner, Bob Sutherland, denied that the dismissal was caused by either the activism or the incident in question. "I respect an employee's right to protest lawfully and peacefully," Sutherland is quoted as saying in a statement provided by the McDonald's corporate communications team. "The accusations being made are absolutely false... His separation from my business is unrelated to whether or not he gave food to a homeless person."

As an attorney versed in labor law, the employer can't really say much at this point as to the actual reason for the termination unless he wants to risk a myriad of legal problems - even if the reason for the termination the employer provides is absolutely true.

If one reads the article closely, while the employee mentions that helping the homeless is a common over looked practice, he does not specifically say why he was fired. Why wasn't he asked directly as to the exact reason he was fired? And if he was asked the question, the article doesn't mention what it was ...

November 05 2013 at 12:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jacobsmopars

I haven't seen any worker at McDonalds that is worth $7 an hour let alone any more than that!

November 04 2013 at 11:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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