The fast food industry has been caught up in a political firestorm over its ties to the 2016 election.
But in some cases, the food industry is actually better served by the public relations battle over its political leanings.
For example, while McDonald’s has been hit with a massive lawsuit from the Campaign Legal Center for not paying federal workers overtime, the company has been accused of bias by other food manufacturers, too.
For example, it’s reportedly paid more than $300,000 in 2016 to settle claims of wage theft.
The case was brought by a group of McDonald’s employees who said the company had a zero-tolerance policy for wage theft, but McDonald’s responded by saying the workers had been fired because they had been misclassified as independent contractors.
The company settled the case for $865,000, and McDonald’s did not admit wrongdoing.
But the lawsuit did have a chilling effect on other companies from hiring fast food workers to help their brands get more customers.
McDonald’s lost some $8 billion in the U.S. last year, and it is also on the hook for nearly $1 billion in legal costs.
The legal battle was sparked by a federal judge ordering McDonald’s to pay $1.4 million in back wages to former workers who were fired after they complained about low wages.
The judge ordered the company to pay back wages for the same amount if the plaintiffs can prove the fast food company was negligent.
But McDonald’s said it was simply trying to get to the bottom of why the workers were terminated.
It also said it never paid overtime to any of its employees.
McDonald’s has said it has “no tolerance” for wage-cutting practices, and the company paid nearly $200 million to settle the lawsuit.
But critics say McDonald’s should not be so easy to work with.
In fact, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said during a conference call last year that the company does not tolerate wage theft at all.
McDonalds has already settled the lawsuit with the employees.
“If you look at the facts, the facts are there are multiple incidents where McDonald’s didn’t pay the minimum wage or the overtime wage that they were required to pay,” Easterbrook told reporters in January.
“And those instances are occurring, and we have to be mindful of that.”
In some cases the lawsuits have even gotten into the courts, where some McDonald’s critics have filed motions to block McDonald’s from filing the lawsuits.
In February, McDonalds settled a lawsuit by the Department of Labor for $9 million.
The settlement allowed workers to receive up to $11.50 an hour, the lowest wage in the food services industry.
But McDonald’s was also fined $1 million for allegedly paying $1,000 to a restaurant employee who was fired after she reported a supervisor for sexually harassing her.
In September, a federal jury in California awarded $2.5 million to a McDonald’s franchisee who sued the company after the franchisee was accused of paying cash to waiters.
The McDonald’s case, the restaurant industry’s response to the political fallout, is not unique.
There are plenty of cases where companies that have political leaners on their payrolls have settled cases without admitting wrongdoing.
In 2016, Walmart settled a sexual harassment suit brought by former workers.
The company settled in part because the former workers felt it was too costly to take legal action against Walmart.
And it also settled for $10 million to pay former employees who were denied overtime pay for being laid off.
The federal court in Chicago is also looking into the restaurant and fast food industries.
In 2018, a judge dismissed a lawsuit from two former employees of the restaurant chain, who claimed they were unfairly fired for complaining about sexual harassment.
And the U of C is investigating allegations of discrimination by two employees of McDonalds, who are seeking to have their employment terminated.
But the McDonald’s lawsuit has raised questions about the food companies’ intentions.
While the company says it does not pay overtime to its workers, some fast food restaurants have said they pay overtime, too, and many fast food companies are paying higher wages to their employees.