- A former In-N-Out employee says he was fired for taking sick time and reporting COVID violations.
- The chain called the claims “baseless and false.”
- The employee is seeking payout for each claim of labor law violation through California courts.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A former In-N-Out employee filed a lawsuit accusing the chain of violating the state labor code and COVID-19 protocols, National Restaurant News reported.
Luis Becerra’s June 7 complaint accuses In-N-Out of retaliation for using sick leave and engaging in protected activities, failing to enforce COVID safety regulations, and not paying wages owed at the end of employment. Becerra worked for In-N-Out for five years until May 2020, when he says he was unfairly terminated.
“At In-N-Out Burger, we have always cared for our associates as if they are our own family and we are disappointed with the baseless and false claims that Mr. Becerra has made in his lawsuit,” the chain’s chief legal and business officer Arnie Wensinger told Insider.
Becerra claims in the lawsuit that In-N-Out did not enforce the safety measures required by the LA Health Department, including social distancing, personal protective equipment, and placing sick employees on medical leave.
“Mr. Becerra saw all of this going on, so he reported it. … In-N-Out responded by using improper write-ups it had issued against Mr. Becerra for taking short, valid medical leaves as false justification to terminate him.” Becerra’s representative Rene Potter told Law 360.
Becerra said he was fired for taking sick time in May 2020 related to his asthma and that In-N-Out told him the official reason he was terminated was a forged medical note, listing “providing false documentation” and exhausting sick pay. He also said he never received his final paycheck.
Becerra is asking for civil penalties on behalf of himself and other In-N-Out employees for each individual labor code violation in accordance with California law, along with attorney’s fees.
Other fast-food chains have faced accusations of violating labor law related to sick leave over the last year. In April, New York City sued Chipotle, accusing the chain of illegally denying requests for time off and not paying workers for the time they took. The city said that Chipotle owed over $150 million to workers.
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