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Chicago Company That Didn’t Pay Burger King Workers For Sick Leave Now Has To Give Them $460K

Tri City Foods didn't provide paid sick leave to more than 2,400 workers — including during the pandemic, according to the city.

Mike Mozart/Flickr
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CHICAGO — A company that didn’t give paid sick leave to employees for more than three years, including during the pandemic, will have to pay them back — to the tune of nearly $460,000, the city announced Thursday.

Chicago workers are supposed to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours they work under the city’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, which went into effect July 1, 2017. But Tri City foods didn’t provide that paid sick leave to 2,473 workers at 40 Burger King locations it runs from July 2017 through November 2020, according to a Mayor’s Office news release.

Tri City Foods will now have to pay $458,931 in restitution to its workers, and the city has fined it an additional $100,000.

It’s the largest fine in city history for violating labor laws — and the investigation started when “one brave essential worker” called 311 to make a complaint, according to the Mayor’s Office.

Workers who spoke at a Thursday news conference said they’d had to come into work sick because otherwise they wouldn’t get paid, and they needed the money.

The company has been under a spotlight after federal investigators alleged Ald. Ed Burke (14th) extorted its owner, Shoukat Dhanani. Burke has pled not guilty.

At the same news conference, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city’s Office of Labor Standards had also settled a case with Mondelez International, which didn’t provide paid sick leave to 465 workers from July 2017 through early 2020.

Mondelez — a Chicago-based company that makes snacks like Oreos and Ritz crackers — has been fined $95,217 and will have to pay $476,083 in restitution to covered employees.

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