A group of McDonald’s employees in Chicago on Tuesday filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the fast-food chain failed to adopt government safety guidelines to protect workers amid the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported.
The lawsuit accuses McDonald’s of failing to provide a sufficient amount of hand sanitizer, gloves and masks. It also claims that the company hadn’t contacted staff when an employee had tested positive for COVID-19, according to a copy of the suit obtained by the news service.
The workers are reportedly asking that the Illinois state court issue an injunction that would compel McDonald’s to stop requiring employees to reuse masks. The injunction would also require all customers to wear face coverings and mandate that the company notify employees when another staffer contracts the virus.
McDonald’s said in a statement to The Hill that it disagreed with the characterizations being made against the company.
“Crew and managers are the heart and soul of the restaurants in which they work, and their safety and well-being is a top priority that guides our decision making,” McDonald’s USA said in a statement.
The lawsuit comes as concerns persist over how restaurants, warehouses, factories and other essential businesses are ensuring that employees remain safe while working amid the pandemic.
A worker advocacy group in April filed a lawsuit accusing Smithfield Foods Inc. of creating a “public nuisance” by not protecting employees at one of its plants in Milan, Mo. A federal judge dismissed the suit in early May, though a lawyer for the group claimed that the legal action led Smithfield to make the changes employees had sought.
In California, three McDonald’s workers have filed administrative actions with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health alleging unsafe conditions.
McDonald’s requires face masks and gloves for employees and provides hand sanitizer at all of its locations. The chain said it has distributed about 100 million masks around the country to staff and updated nearly 50 processes to ensure employee safety.
“These include wellness checks, protective barriers, adhering to social distancing guidelines for customers and crew, using gloves and masks, increasing the frequency of hand washing and moving to contactless operations,” the company said.
UPDATED 11:26 p.m.