McDonald's Franchise Settles In Costume Involving "Dog Diaper" Masks

There have been many confrontations over workplace safety since the start of the pandemic. One of the strangest has just been solved: t...


There have been many confrontations over workplace safety since the start of the pandemic. One of the strangest has just been solved: the dog diaper case.

Workers at a McDonald’s restaurant in Oakland, Calif., Said their employer provided them with masks made from diapers instead of bona fide masks at the start of the pandemic last year. They also received masks made from coffee filters, they said.

After complaining, employees said, they were given appropriate disposable masks, but were told to wash them and reuse them until they frayed. The allegations were included in a subsequent lawsuit, which argued that the franchise owner’s inattention to safety resulted in an outbreak of Covid-19 among workers and their families.

Now the workers and the franchise owner are announcing a settlement in which the restaurant has agreed to apply various safety measures, including social distancing, contact tracing and paid sick leave policies. The regulations also provide that a board of directors and employees will meet monthly to discuss compliance with prescribed measures and the need for further measures.

“The committee was one of those things that was extremely important,” Angely Rodriguez Lambert, a former McDonald’s employee who was among the plaintiffs, said through an interpreter. “We were treated like dogs – giving us dog diapers to use as masks. We are not dogs.

Michael Smith, who owns and operates the store, has denied all charges in his legal records, and the settlement does not involve an admission of wrongdoing.

Mr Smith said in a statement that his company began implementing prescribed security measures “over a year ago” and that “we will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure that our stores remain as secure as possible ”.

Lawyers for both sides said they could not say whether the settlement included a financial component. The initial legal complaint asked for money to compensate the plaintiffs for the suffering they had endured and to repair them for the losses and costs they had incurred during their illness.

Beyond safety breaches and risks to workers, the lawsuit accused the franchise owner of “helping to create” a public nuisance because, according to the complaint, workers who were infected at work have spread the coronavirus in their community. The lawsuit said at least 25 people, including a worker’s 10-month-old child, had been infected with an outbreak emanating from the restaurant.

Workers from other restaurants and industries, such as meat packaging and e-commerce, also filed public nuisance lawsuits during the pandemic, with mixed results.

One in Illinois recently led a judge to issue a permanent injunction requiring a company-owned McDonald’s to ensure that unvaccinated workers are sufficiently separated from each other and that they wear masks when the distance is n is not possible. The judge had previously found that the restaurant already provided sufficient amounts of protective equipment and disinfectant and was adequately monitoring Covid cases.

Under a regulation in this case, restaurant managers are also required to schedule a company-time meeting with any employee seeking advice on Covid security protocols until the end of next month.

McDonald’s did not admit any wrongdoing in the Illinois case and did not provide financial compensation to the plaintiffs.

Frustration among Oakland workers began to boil over in May 2020 when several were infected with Covid, according to the lawsuit. Ms Lambert said she asked two supervisors if she could return home after starting to feel unwell, but they insisted she end her shift working near several other employees. She then tested positive for the coronavirus.

The legal complaint described similar encounters between managers and other workers showing symptoms of Covid. He said they were also told they had to work a full shift if no one was available to replace them.

Ms Lambert and other workers argued that they should have been told earlier that colleagues were showing symptoms of the virus or had tested positive for it.

The employees of the store, who were not unionized, organized a strike in late May to protest their treatment, and the store closed. An attorney for Mr Smith said he closed the store because of workers’ Covid infections.

Workers filed a lawsuit weeks later, after complaints to state and local health authorities appeared to elicit an effective response, and a judge ordered the restaurant to remain closed until it receives county approval to reopen and can perform a variety of security measures. It reopened in July 2020.

The plaintiffs said they had endured physical, emotional and financial hardship – going into debt to pay medical bills and other costs while they were sick and had no income.

The McDonald’s Corporation was not a defendant in the Oakland lawsuit or a party to the settlement, but the legal complaint claimed that the company was “deceptively researching through extensive advertising to reassure customers” that its stores had advertised. effective security protocols.

BJ Chisholm, an attorney for workers in Oakland, said the plaintiffs believe McDonald’s should take responsibility for the safety of workers at all of its stores and franchises, but decided not to sue the company because they believe they could resolve the situation quickly by working with Mr. Forgeron.

“It is clear that McDonald’s could have helped create conditions here which would have led to a safer working environment earlier,” she added.

The company said in a statement, “While we are convinced that any aberrant conduct such as that alleged in these complaints does not reflect what has generally happened and continues to happen at 14,000 McDonald’s locations in the United States, we We also go to great lengths to ensure that we have clear processes and the right resources to promote the safety and well-being of crew and customers.

The Oakland restaurant informed employees on Friday that a worker who last worked there on July 31 had tested positive for the coronavirus and may have been sick with the Covid on that date. The store closed that day while management had it cleaned and reopened the next day.

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Newsrust - US Top News: McDonald's Franchise Settles In Costume Involving "Dog Diaper" Masks
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