The Chicago Occupational Accident Attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers Represent Injured Subway Sandwich Workers
Subway Restaurant franchise owners and managers call their employees ‘Sandwich Artists’ because they are trained to create works of art with basic ingredients in making Subway sandwiches. Subway remains a global phenomenon is the largest fast-food chain in the world. They have built their fame on selling affordable made-to-order sandwiches. Typical duties expected of Subway Sandwich workers include:
- Greet the customer cheerfully while preparing the order.
- Display a comprehensive understanding of every menu item and offer guidance in helping the customer build their sandwich.
- Utilize a Subway’s Point of Sale policies in using the cash register to determine the bill and record the customer’s order accurately.
- Collect payment by taking cash/making change or assisting the customer in swiping their credit/debit card to complete the transaction.
- Maintain responsibility on accounting for every form of payment accepted during the worker’s shift.
- Regularly prepare and slice vegetables by Subway’s procedures.
- Prepare the sandwich neatly, timely and according to Subway’s formulas.
- Restock depleting inventory on the sandwich line to make sure sufficient merchandise and menu choices remain available during the shift.
- Adhere to proper food handling procedures including maintaining a sanitized and safe environment while the sandwich is being prepared, delivered to the customer and through cleanup.
- Clean and maintain every area of the Subway restaurant to ensure cleanliness using Subway’s cleaning methods and procedures.
While Subway provides various employment opportunities for part-time and full-time employees, according to CNN money, subway “sandwich artists" are paid significantly lower than other entry-level jobs.
Subway Sandwich Worker Hazards
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) data on the restaurant industry reveals that approximately 28,000 fast food employees suffer injuries that require emergency room care and treatment each year. Most injured workers are teenagers that lack sufficient experience to ensure their work is performed safely. Research shows that many teens working at Subway Sandwich Shop, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and other fast food restaurants become overconfident in their ability to do their job and pose dangerous situations through brash behavior.
Additionally, the quick turnaround of employees at the restaurant often results in a lack of sufficient training required by managers and supervisors to new hires. The lack of education can pose a significant safety hazard when the employee is required to use knives, work around hot ovens, and prepare deli meat by using mechanical slicers. Common hazards that Subway Sandwich makers face every day in the work environment include:
- Puncture Wounds, Cuts, and Lacerations – Every Subway worker is required to use knives in preparing sandwiches for the customer to slice vegetables in the back room, and the completed sandwich along the assembly line.
- Electrical Burns – The worker can be exposed to faulty equipment and frayed/torn electrical wires that could cause a significant electrical shock, electrocution or burn.
- Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSDs) Symptoms – Standing in one spot along the assembly-line assembling sandwiches according to the customer’s orders can cause fatigue. When the employee works in awkward positions and postures for hours at a time, they can develop a musculoskeletal disorder that leads to muscle strains, strains, and aches.
- Heavy Lifting Injuries – Much of the merchandise containers are delivered to a Subway Sandwich restaurant arrives in large boxes filled with industrial size cans, jars, and bottles. If the worker lacks proper training on effective ways to lift heavy items, including boxes and buckets, they could develop serious back injuries that lead to a lifetime of chronic problems.
- Toxic Fume Exposure – To maintain a sanitized environment, the workers are required to use toxic chemicals and cleaning supplies. Mixing ammonia and chlorine can cause toxic fumes that without proper ventilation could cause significant respiratory problems, lung injuries, and potentially, death.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries (RMIs) – The very nature of a fast food job at a Subway restaurant requires repetitive motion when building sandwiches on the assembly-line or slicing vegetables and other foods in the back room. Over time, the employee repeatedly performing the same motion or movement can develop RMI symptoms including a tingling sensation in the fingers, hand, wrist, arms, elbows, shoulders, back and neck. In severe cases, the worker can develop carpal tunnel syndrome that might require elective surgery to minimize numbness in the hand.
- Work Exhaustion – Many restaurant workers, including those employed at Subway, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr.’s and other locations work long hours, especially during the night shift. The hours of overexertion can create physical fatigue and drain the employee mentally that might take a long time to recover from completely.
- Workplace Violence – Like many fast food outlets, Subway Sandwich restaurants are often the target of violent crime through burglary, theft or robbery. These violent events often result in tragic outcomes where workers, visitors and guests are injured or killed.
Becoming sick on the job in any fast food restaurant to the point where the worker must stay home due to illness, diarrhea, and vomiting is a critical concern. Statistics maintained by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) revealed that more than 12% of all fast food workers get seriously sick every year requiring time off. Many of these illnesses are thought to be job-related caused by a weakened immune system due to overexertion or exposure to the public.
Subway Sandwich Workers' Wages
The annual employment data maintained by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year 2016 revealed that there were 81,000 Fast Food Workers employed in the Chicago, Naperville and Arlington Heights metropolitan area. These statistics reveal that Subway Sandwich Workers earned on average $10.07 per hour, or $20,950 every year. This job-related income is slightly higher compared to national averages. See Chart
Violent Crime, Fatalities, and Injuries
Working at a fast food restaurant like Subway, Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr., KFC, Taco Bell and others is often a teenager’s first job during high school. Unfortunately, there is a significant rise in violent incidences that occur at these outlets that place the health, safety, and life of the teenager in grave jeopardy. Some current cases involving violent activity at Subway and other fast food restaurants include:
- Case 1: Littleton Colorado – The US Department of Labor issued a monetary fine of $18,625 against a Subway Sandwich restaurant after a young teenager was murdered at the facility while working late hours. The tragic event occurred in 2000 when the minor was given the responsibility of shutting the doors at the restaurant at the 10:00 PM closing time. The franchise owner was fined for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act under the Child Labor Provision that mandates that all minor children cannot work after 7:00 PM or before 7:00 AM. The Assistant Secretary of labor at the time stated that “too many teens are being injured – even killed – in the workplace. Employers must act responsibly and pay attention to the child labor laws on hiring young workers."
- Case 2: Dallas, Texas – In June 2015, a Dallas Subway restaurant employee died during a robbery that occurred at the facility at approximately 11:00 PM. Two suspects entered the facility just before closing demanding cash while a third suspect served as a lookout outside the restaurant. Even though the workers cooperated with the armed robbers, one employee was still shot multiple times in the chest. First responders transported the 28-year-old worker to the hospital where he later succumbed to the gunshot wound.
- Case 3: Whittier, California – In August 2017, a jury sentenced a convicted murderer and robber for taking the life of a Subway Sandwich shop worker in Whittier and another victim miles away in a San Gabriel parking lot. The 30-year-old convicted felon was sentenced to death for a first-degree murder conviction involving both killings. The jury also found the murderer guilty on one count of attempted robbery, and sixteen counts of robbery.
- Case 4: San Francisco, California – In May 2017, a patron at a Subway sandwich shop became violently upset after refusing to pay for the sandwich he had ordered. When the subway sandwich worker refused to give the customer the sandwich, the assailant grabbed the knife and began stabbing the older employee. A security guard passing by ran into the restaurant to stop the assault and grabbed the knife away from the assailant who is then fatally wounded by police officers arriving at the scene moments after the security guard took the knife away. Responders transferred the stabbed worker to the local hospital with non-life-threatening stabbing injuries.
- Case 5: Houston, Texas – An 18-year-old Subway restaurant employee was killed by robbers who burst into the restaurant in a hail of gunfire. The young worker stood in front of his mother to shield her from the bullets.
- Case 6: Queens, New York – A masked robber at a Queens Subway Sandwich Shop held the gun to a restaurant worker’s head demanding that the safe be opened. Another worker grabbed the bandit’s gun while pushing him up against the wall. The robber and the accomplice became startled before running out of the sandwich shop. Queens police believe the violent robbers are responsible for other robberies occurring in the borough. In two other events, to robbers wielding guns got away with approximately $500 in cash after robbing a Subway Sandwich Shop. Two days later, the dangerous pair robbed a gas station making off with approximately $500.
The level of violence and exposure to harmful chemicals and other hazards occurring at a Subway Sandwich Shop can place the health and well-being of the worker in jeopardy. In response, many injured employees have filed lawsuits to hold the restaurant franchise owner and the Subway Corporation legally and financially responsible. However, these cases are often extremely complex and require the skills of an experienced personal injury attorney to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires. The lawyer can resolve the case to ensure the victim is adequately compensated for their damages.
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Our law firm assists injured Subway Sandwich Workers get compensation under the IL Worker’s Compensation Act and through civil lawsuits. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers (888-424-5757) provides Free Case Reviews and a No-Win/No Fee Guarantee.
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