McDonald’s deliberately denied workers 10-minute paid toilet breaks, offering them free soft drink instead.
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association made the allegation as part of legal action in the Federal Court.
The SDA is seeking tens of thousands of dollars in compensation for 25 current and former employees.
It is also seeking penalties for the alleged wage theft.
McDonald’s refuses to allow paid toilet breaks
The outlets involved are located across Adelaide’s north-west, and include Croydon, Port Adelaide and West Lakes.
A 22 year-old worker involved in the litigation claims they worked at West Lakes McDonald’s for six years without a rest break.
Meanwhile, former employee, Madeleine Lilburn, said management never told staff about their right to take 10-minute paid breaks.
“It’s probably appropriate that some questions be asked about why they can get away with not giving us breaks we were entitled to when we were expected to follow all of the requirements that they set of us.”
Union secretary Josh Peak said fast food workers need breaks because of the busy nature of their work.
“Our engagement with McDonald’s has been around the fact that this is a problem,” he said.
“What we’d like to see from McDonald’s is them work with us to fix it, to pay workers what they’re entitled to.”
The latest legal action brings the total number of former and current McDonald’s employees the SDA is representing in court to more than 250 across 15 outlets.
It is the third in a series of recent lawsuits against businesses that run South Australian McDonald’s restaurants.
McDonald’s declined to comment because the matter is before the courts.
Recently, the Federal Court ruled that toilet breaks and drinking water are a workplace right, after similar legal action against a Brisbane business that runs a McDonald’s store.
In that case, a manager falsely told employees the company had no obligation to let them go to the bathroom outside scheduled breaks.
Justice John Logan described the directive as “a reckless falsehood and a serious one at that”.
He said workers are entitled to use the bathroom, in addition to the paid 10 minute breaks.
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