Four employees of a McDonald’s franchise who were fired after reporting COVID-19 concerns have been reinstated to their jobs. They will receive more than $113,000 in lost wages and interest.
The California Labor Commissioner ordered the franchisee to reinstate the workers and pay them $113,241 in lost wages, interest and retaliation penalties.
Concerns over re-used masks, gloves
R&B Sanchez, the McDonald’s franchisee, were repeatedly notified by the four employees in April 2020 that they had concerns about the restaurant’s COVID-19 protocols. Specifically, they were concerned about being asked to re-use masks and gloves and not being notified about positive COVID-19 cases.
“This employer responded by firing the workers for exercising their rights,” said Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower.
The four workers filed retaliation complaints in September 2020 after they were fired. The Labor Commissioner’s office cited R&B Sanchez in February 2021, which led to a “lengthy appeals process.” A hearing officer upheld the citations in February 2023.
New franchisee, owners, HR officer also cited
As part of the reinstatement, McDonald’s must remove any negative references from the four workers’ personnel files and post information on the citations and violations in the workplace.
The citations were jointly applied to R&B Sanchez’s successor, DRS Hospitality LLC, owners Robert and Beverly Sanchez, and the franchisee human resources officer, Brian Sanchez.