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NY AG ANNOUNCES $500K SETTLEMENT WITH SEVEN MCDONALD'S IN NYC

(The following is a reformatted version of a press release issued by the Office of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and received via electronic mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.)  A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES $500k SETTLEMENT WITH SEVEN MCDONALD'S RESTAURANTS  IN MANHATTAN*  "Owner Richard Cisneros And The Companies Must Pay Restitution To More Than  1,600 Workers For Unpaid Laundry Allowances, Uncompensated Work Time And  Unlawful Wage Deductions "  "Schneiderman: We Will Enforce New York Labor Law In The Fast Food Industry"  NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement  totaling almost $500,000 with seven New York City McDonald's restaurant  franchises and their owner Richard Cisneros for failing to pay legally-required  laundry allowances for many employees, for uncompensated work time and for  unlawful deductions from wages that resulted when cashiers were required to  cover cash register shortfalls. The settlement money, which includes damages  and interest, will go to more than 1,600 mostly minimum wage workers who were  shortchanged by these franchises.   The settlement is the second to come out of ongoing investigations of numerous  fast food employers by the Attorney General’s Labor Bureau for labor law  violations. In December, the Attorney General secured reinstatement for twenty  five workers at a Domino's pizza franchise located in Washington Heights, in  New York City.   “Like every other business in New York State, fast food employers must follow  our labor laws,” *Attorney General Schneiderman* said. “Our lowest wage workers  deserve the same protections of the law as everyone else. It’s critical, for  them and for their families as well as for our economy, that we remain vigilant  so that no New Yorkers are cheated out of their hard won earnings.”   The seven restaurants, all in Manhattan, are located at 280 Madison Ave., 1499  3rd Ave., 1872-74 3rd Ave., 809 6th Ave., 427 10th Ave., 871 2nd Ave., and 18  East 42nd St.  Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation found that from 2007 to July  2013, the Cisneros Group restaurants failed to pay certain of their 700  cashiers at the restaurants for time periods when they were required to work  “off-the-clock” before and after some of their shifts. The restaurants also  required some cashiers to make up cash register shortages out of their own  money when the registers were short of funds at the end of the workers’ shifts.  In addition, when a business requires employees to wear uniforms like the ones  in this case, New York law requires employers either to launder the uniforms,  provide sufficient wash and wear uniforms for each day of the work week, or pay  employees a "uniform maintenance allowance," in an amount set by law, in order  to cover the employees' costs of laundering the uniforms. However, Cisneros  and his companies did not pay employees the uniform maintenance allowance  required by law. More than half of the settlement money will go to reimburse  uniformed workers who were not paid this allowance as required. Other  violations included failure to pay workers an extra hour of pay at minimum wage  when they worked more than 10 hours in a day, as required by New York law.  The Attorney General thanks New York Communities for Change, which referred  worker complaints to his office.   *Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change*, said,  “I want to commend Attorney General Schneiderman for investigating the owner of  seven McDonald's franchises for what amounts to wage theft. This money will go  to workers who should have received it in the first place. This settlement, and  the $3.9 million settlement the Attorney General reached earlier this month for  car wash workers, is a clear signal that unscrupulous owners will not be  tolerated and that we will continue to fight on behalf of these workers.  McDonald's must ensure that its franchise holders abide by the law and treat  workers fairly.”  Further information about Attorney General Schneiderman’s settlement with car  wash owners can be found here [  http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-announces-nearly-4m-settlemen t-two-nyc-car-wash-chains-underpaying ].  In addition to paying the restitution funds, the settlement with the Attorney  General also requires the seven franchises to submit to monitoring of their  labor law compliance. The Cisneros Group restaurants will also institute  complaint procedures, provide bilingual written handbooks to employees, train  supervisors on the labor law, and post a statement of employee's rights.  A claims administrator overseen by the Attorney General’s Office will determine  how much each of the more than 1,600 employees will be reimbursed, depending on  the specific employment facts of each employee. The restaurants do business as  ERC Food Corp., Angel 3rd Avenue Corporation, Anghec, Inc., Angel 10th Ave.  Food Corporation, JHC Corp., EJJ Food Corp., and John C Food Corp.   The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Wagoner and  Special Counsel Patricia Kakalec in the Attorney General’s Labor Bureau, which  is led by Bureau Chief Terri Gerstein. Executive Deputy Attorney General for  Social Justice is Alvin Bragg.  (rml) NY