"I think the worst thing that I was ever asked to do would be to adjust a person's time," Kwanza Brooks, who managed McDonald's restaurants in North Carolina and Maryland for 12 years, says in a video from lowpayisnotok.org. "That's the worst. Because they did their work, they were there, and they deserved to get paid for what they did."
The video finds Brooks and another former manager coming forward about various unsavory tactics for saving the company money, including adding unpaid breaks to workers' time sheets and making illegal deductions from checks.
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"I have witnessed deductions being done with employees whether it was a uniform, a name tag, a meal, whether it was anything," said Brooks. "They would deduct and they would take it out of your payroll."
In the video, veteran manager Lakia Williams paints a vivid picture of the kinds of employees affected by the deductions. "They weren't the teenagers," she says. "They were the 30-to-40-something mothers working multiple jobs at the time where they couldn't get a full-time work status."
If true, statements like Williams's and Brooks's impart terrifying weight to a poll of 1,088 fast food workers, which found that McDonald's, Burger King and other are stealing money from 89 percent of their employees. Additionally, 60 percent of fast food workers have been required to work before clocking in or after clocking out--one of the practices for which McDonald's is under fire.
Williams's and Brooks's allegations come in the wake of class-action lawsuits filed by McDonald's workers in California, Michigan and New York, which collectively demand that their employer pay back stolen wages and end the practices in question.
So far, the lawsuits have found the tides turning in the employees' favor. A settlement with McDonald's (as well as another with Domino's, which was criticized for similar practices) means that workers have won back nearly $1 million in stolen wages. If the remaining lawsuits progress in kind, that may be just the beginning.
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