Summer Brings Different Kind of Heat for McDonalds

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Summer is supposed to be the best time of year filled with vacation, ice cream and relaxing by the pool.  However, it is certainly anything but relaxing for McDonalds’ public relations team.  Within the past few months, McDonalds has come under fire in the media for the ways it has been treating employees.

The media first reported in June that a lawsuit was filed against McDonalds for paying employees with prepaid debit cards.  Many employees then incur excessive fees on their cards, which results in them being paid less than they are owed and, at times, less than minimum wage.

A few weeks ago, McDonalds came under scrutiny again for its “Practical Money Skills Budget Journal” which serves as a supposed guideline for how employees can budget their paychecks responsibly.  Not only does the budget suggest employees hold a second job in addition to their full-time job, but it also recommends that they pay impossibly low amounts in expenses ($0 in heat and $20 in insurance?? – McDonalds does not even offer $20 per month insurance for employees!)

In the most recent episode, employees at a McDonalds in New York walked out after a co-worker fainted due to the extreme heat conditions they are forced to work in.  With record temperatures across the country this summer, it was noted that the employees were working in a kitchen with no air conditioning.  Despite frequent complaints to the manager and owners, this McDonalds’ kitchen was working with air conditioning for nine years!

There is no quick “Band-Aid” fix for McDonalds’ situation.  It would be one thing if McDonalds just had one instance of treating employees poorly.  But it now has THREE – and all of them occurred within weeks of each other.  The timing caused each situation to gain more and more media attention.  Although two of the instances were part of McDonalds’ franchises, the company is still responsible for how their franchises operate.

It is insulting how McDonalds disregarded their employee’s standard of living and created an unattainable budget.  I highly doubt the person writing those guidelines would be able to follow his or her own advice.  McDonalds is going to need to make major internal changes and prove to employees they are respected and valued.  The company should make sure the media is convinced as well, because, right now, many people have doubts about how principled the company really is.

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