State fines Boyle Heights McDonald’s franchisee for firing employees who expressed coronavirus safety concerns

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Lizzett Aguilar, 36, is seen in an undated photo outside her home in East Los Angeles. The California Labor Commissioner fined a McDonald’s franchisee for firing Aguilar after she helped lead strikes to protest inadequate protections against the coronavirus. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

Lizzett Aguilar, 36, is seen in an undated photo outside her home in East Los Angeles. The California Labor Commissioner fined a McDonald’s franchisee for firing Aguilar after she helped lead strikes to protest inadequate protections against the coronavirus. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

The California Labor Commissioner has fined a McDonald’s franchisee for firing four employees who participated in strikes to protest coronavirus safety conditions in their Los Angeles workplace.

R&B Sanchez, which operates a McDonald’s on 1716 Marengo St. in Boyle Heights, was fined Friday more than $125,900 in lost wages and retaliation penalties and ordered to offer the workers their jobs back. The franchisee may appeal.

“Too many workers fear retaliation if they report a problem or stand up for their rights,” said Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower in a statement Wednesday. “California law has anti-retaliation protections in place that make it illegal for employers to punish workers for exercising their labor rights, such as reporting a workplace safety hazard”

It was not immediately clear whether this is the first citation the state has issued for retaliation related to coronavirus safety.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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