CHICAGO — Chicago City Hall is cracking down on businesses that steal worker’s wages by failing to provide paid sick days.
Chicago’s Office of Labor Standards served notice to those who violate the city’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, cracking down on Mondalez International’s Chicago Bakery and the Downers Grove holding company operating local Burger Kings.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Andy Fox with the Chicago Office of Labor Standards announced fines and restitution settlements Thursday.
“Depriving a worker of paid sick leave is stealing hard-earned money, putting the worker, the businesses and the community at risk,” Fox said. “In both of these cases, I’m proud to say we won restitution. Nearly $1 million for thousands of workers.”
In the newly announced settlement, Tri-City Foods, which operates 40 Chicago Burger Kings, acknowledged they failed to grant paid sick leave to nearly 2,500 employees. As a result, Tri-City must pay a $100,000 fine while agreeing to dole out restitution of more than $450,000 to longtime workers like Burger King employee Alba Roman.
“I was obligated to work while I was sick because I was not permitted to miss work,” Roman said.
Also settling with the city is Mondelez International’s Bakery at 73rd & Kedzie. The business is accused of failing to provide paid sick leave to 465 employees. As a result, the business must pay a fine of nearly $100,000 and nearly $500,000 in restitution.
Lightfoot says she fears these cases are just the tip of the iceberg.
”A recent study estimated that $4 million in wages are stolen from Chicagoland workers by bad faith employers every year,” Lightfoot said.
Rosa Escareno is the commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.
“I could not be more proud of the city with this announcement,” she said. “Specifically, because it’s about protecting and supporting working families in the city of Chicago.”
If you or someone you know requires help recovering stolen wages, contact the Chicago Office of Labor Standards by calling 311 or visiting Chicago.gov/laborstandards.