Richard Cisneros, owner of seven McDonald’s franchises in Manhattan, is now obliged to pay nearly $500,000 to more than 1,600 current and former workers at his fast-food restaurants. The settlement was made after New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s office determined that Cisneros’ employees were shorted on pay.

Schneiderman has recently gone after franchises he believes are exploiting low-wage workers, The Huffington Post reported Monday — and employees and their lawyers are taking action around the U.S. to push for change:

“The labor practices of fast-food companies and their franchisees have come under unusual scrutiny in recent months. Fast-food employees in cities across the country have staged one-day walkouts over low pay, while workers have launched high-profile wage-and-hour lawsuits like the ones announced against McDonald’s last week.

Lawyers representing McDonald’s workers in New York, California and Michigan said last week they were filing lawsuits against the company and its franchisees, claiming workers were systematically shorted on pay.

Cisneros issued a statement saying he was “pleased to have reached a settlement with the New York State Attorney General to correct mistakes my organization made in this area.”

–Posted by Donald Kaufman

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