Tag Archives: Sonic Drive-In

Sonic Drive In Gets Department of Labor Help to Stop Wage Theft

sonic drive in wage theft

The U.S. Department of Labor and Sonic Drive In, the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain have signed a voluntary agreement to help Sonic’s 3,000+ drive in franchise locations comply with federal labor laws. Sonic has been one of a number of fast food restaurants that have been hit with wage theft lawsuits complaining that workers have had their time shaved, did not get overtime after 40 hours, and were required to work “off the clock.”

The Department of Labor announced, “We encourage other franchisors to follow Sonic’s example and take similar steps to benefit their franchises’ employees and owners by complying with the law… Abiding by the law makes better business sense than facing the prospect of paying back wages, damages, and penalties for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

The Department of Labor will provide easy-to-use compliance assistance tools designed for the franchise restaurant industry. The package will include video and online training, educational articles for use in internal company publications, and sample training materials for use in company staff meetings. The Department of Labor will also make representatives available to provide training and labor law compliance assistance to Sonic franchisees.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that fast food workers be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour (note that New York has a higher minimum wage) as well as time-and-one-half their regular rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. Fast food restaurants and many chain restaurants have been sued recently for violating workers’ rights by failing to pay overtime and by forcing employees to work “off the clock.”

 

Sonic Drive-In Settles Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit For $2 Million

sonic logo

A Sonic Drive-In in Los Lunas, New Mexico agreed to settle a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) for  $2 million.  The lawsuit alleged that a manager harassed numerous female workers, including teenagers, and retaliated against victims who complained.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Robert Gomez, a former manager of and limited partner in the Los Lunas Sonic, subjected a class of women to sexual harassment, including sexual comments and innuendo, and unwanted touching.  The lawsuit also alleged that women who asked Gomez to stop harassing them or complained about their work environment were subjected to retaliation, primarily by a reduction in their hours.  The EEOC further alleged that employees were also forced to quit their jobs because of the sexual harassment, retaliation, and/or the employer’s failure to provide preventive or remedial relief.

Over 70 women are expected to receive relief through the settlement.  In addition to the substantial monetary relief, the settlement prohibits Sonic from further discriminating or retaliating against its employees and requires Sonic to have in place policies and practices that will provide its employees with a work environment free of sex discrimination and retaliation.  Sonic must also provide its employees in Los Lunas and other area stores anti-discrimination training and notice of the settlement, and report any other complaints to the EEOC for three years.