McDonald’s is one of the most iconic fast-food chains across the globe, but it’s not entirely famous for their wages. The fast-food chain was caught in the middle of controversy regarding its employee payment policy in Arizona, where it was accused of not paying workers a fair wage.

Arizona is an example of a state within the United States that has confronted low-paid jobs, with minimum wage disparity across practically 10 main sectors within the state. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities within the country and has a strong entertainment industry. Still, it is also known for its long-standing prejudices against the low-wage earners in the hospitality industry. While a significant portion of the attention has been on the hospitality sector in Arizona, McDonald’s pay was subject to scrutiny.

Lawsuit Alleging Underpayment

In the summer of 2021, some McDonald’s employees in Arizona filed a lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit was over the allegation of underpaying workers overtime and misclassifying them as managers to deny them deserved wages. In response, McDonald’s shifted BLT, its chief human resources executive, to Arizona to deal with these complaints. These pay claims have exposed flaws in McDonald’s worldwide policy.

The controversy focuses on whether McDonald’s hourly wages are sufficient to sustain their workers’ livelihoods in Arizona. A significant portion of McDonald’s workers in Arizona are young people, primarily high school and college students working part-time. However, by Arizona’s standards, the minimum wage rates are not sufficient to live on. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage rate in Arizona is $18.25 per hour.

McDonald’s hourly wages have gained significant attention from labor organizers who argue that employees should earn a minimum of $15 an hour. The lawsuit against McDonald’s was intended to reiterate the importance of paying the minimum wage to employees. The employees claimed that McDonald’s had not adhered to federal pay law, the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Grievances by Workers

The lawsuit highlighted several pain points for its workers. One of the key grievances by workers was the misclassification of their employment as managerial. It meant they weren’t being compensated their worth, which was a significant disadvantage to their career growth.

The group of employees suing McDonald’s comprised of workers in different departments, from food specialists to general managers, all fighting for financial justice. McDonald’s employees claimed that they had worked long hours, often for less than what they were owed.

The company has stated that it does follow the Fair Labor Standards Act when it comes to paying wages. However, the lawsuit against McDonald’s disputes the claim. Workers have accused the company of failing to pay for their “off-the-clock” work, including training, meetings, and walking time between the drive-thru and kitchen.

Impact on Business

The negative perception of McDonald’s pay scale has been detrimental to the company’s profitability, with customers and investors asking for a review of the company’s payment policies. For many consumers, they believe that McDonald’s workers deserve more.

Many people working on the front lines of the fast-food industry in Arizona, including McDonald’s, earn fees below the minimum wage. The minimum wage rate in Arizona was recently raised to $12.15, which is relatively high in the context of America. However, it is not adequate to meet the daily minimum wage earnings net of taxes.

McDonald’s isn’t the only fast-food restaurant being sued over its underpaid workers. Other restaurants across the United States are facing similar challenges, with many employees claiming that they are paid unfairly.


The lawsuit against McDonald’s has highlighted the importance of paying employees a fair and adequate wage, highlighting the need for legal reform. McDonald’s claim that it follows standard policy outsourced from the legal authorities has done little to quell the cries of underpaid labor.

While it’s difficult to determine what McDonald’s pays its workers in Arizona, the lawsuit has exposed flaws in the fast-food giant’s global payment policy. Workers are demanding compensation for the “off-the-clock work,” a key step in the right direction.

In conclusion, McDonald’s pay in Arizona is subject to significant scrutiny in the aftermath of the lawsuit filed against the fast-food giant by its employees. The lawsuit highlights a much broader issue of low wages within the hospitality industry in Arizona. Worker rights have moved center stage across the United States, and McDonald’s serves as a typical example of what workers are demanding, fair payment for the service they offer. While it’s still uncertain how the lawsuit will pan out, the message is clear, and McDonald’s needs to update its payment policies adequately.