The Chicago Occupational Accident Attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers Represent Injured Wendy’s Workers
Most Wendy’s workers and those employed at other fast food restaurants in the Chicago metropolitan area are teenagers at work at their first job. Many are hired to take orders, cashier, cook, clean, and handle stock. The food service Wendy’s employees fill the demand for fast food customers eager to purchase hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, fish sandwiches, franchise, salads, sodas, and desserts.
The job responsibilities of a Wendy’s worker include preparing food products and providing customer service at the drive-through window and behind the cash register. The employee will store and retrieve items from the walk-in cooler and freezer, and storage areas. These entry-level jobs usually pay the worker minimum wage. The employee must have basic mathematics skills to handle money to complete the sales transaction. The managerial staff usually provides on-the-job training to ensure the operation runs smoothly. In many cases, the employee who moves into management and supervisory positions started at Wendy’s as an entry-level worker.
Wendy’s Workers Hazards
According to statistics maintained by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), more than 25,000 fast food industry employees suffer work-related injuries every year that require emergency room care. Many of these injuries involve burns, cuts, and lacerations that are usually caused by inexperience or insufficient training to maintain job safety.
Almost 2/3 of the 45,000 teenagers who suffer job-related injuries every year were working at a fast food restaurant serving hamburgers, pizza, Mexican food, chicken, or seafood. In some incidences, the injured worker fails to receive adequate medical care because the supervisor or manager dismisses the level of injury believing it is not severe.
Many Wendy’s workers injured on the job are harmed by burns while working around the fryers, stoves and cooking flat top. These injuries are often the result of inexperience or negligence. Other serious injuries occurring at Wendy’s fast food restaurants involve:
- Puncture Wounds and Lacerations – Many Wendy’s employees work with slicers, knives and other sharp tools used to prepare food served to customers. Additionally, the worker is exposed to broken glass and sharp objects that can cause puncture wounds. These injuries often require immediate attention to ensure that the wound site does not become infected, which could lead to sepsis (blood poisoning).
- Heat Burns – Fryers used for French fries, fried chicken, and other menu items cook food at 350° or higher. The gas-burning flat tops are heated to 450° or higher. Pizza ovens are usually heated to 600° to 700° or higher. Contact with any of the heated equipment can cause severe burns. OSHA statistics reveal more than 12,000 incidents involve job-related burns at fast food restaurants every year.
- Electrical Burns – Damaged equipment, faulty appliances, and tattered electrical wires can cause electrical shock or electrocution that can seriously harm or kill Wendy’s workers.
- Strains and Sprains – The physical intensity of working in a fast restaurant on slippery floors can cause strains and sprains to the worker’s ligaments, tendons and muscles. Many of these injuries involve the fingers, ankles, knees, spine, hips, shoulders and arms.
- Back Pain – Many of the merchandise brought in the back door to prepare food is delivered in heavy buckets, boxes, and containers. The workers are often required to unload the trucks and place cargo items in the storage area, or inside the walk-in freezer or cooler. Lifting heavy merchandise often results in serious back sprains, strains and injuries that could develop into chronic issues the last a lifetime.
- Slip, Trip and Fall Injury – The work environment in a Wendy’s restaurant often exposes the worker to crowded conditions, slippery floors, cluttered storage areas, and stacked merchandise that all could lead to slipping, tripping and falling injuries that result in broken bones, bruised muscles, and sprained ligaments.
- Deadly Fume Exposure – The deadly fumes from the tailpipes of idling trucks and cars at the drive-through window can expose the worker to toxic vapors and lead to serious, life-threatening injuries caused by breathing in carbon monoxide at noxious levels. The fast food kitchen and a Wendy’s restaurant must be properly ventilated to ensure worker safety.
- Exposure to Toxic Substance – To maintain a sterile environment in the kitchen area, serving area, food prep area, restrooms and the dining room, workers use disinfecting chemicals and cleaners. Long-term exposure to these toxic substances can cause debilitating health problems including when inhaling noxious ammonia or bleach fumes.
- RMI (Repetitive Movement Injury) – Food prep, cooking and serving requires repetitive motion where the worker repeatedly performs the same duties for hours at a time. After months and years of performing these duties, the worker can develop a repetitive movement injury that involves muscle fatigue, tendinitis, significant nerve damage, or carpal tunnel syndrome. These injuries usually appear on the shoulders, back, neck, hands, wrist, and fingers.
- Excessive Noise Levels – Working around loud equipment in the kitchen area or listening to loud traffic passing by a Wendy’s fast food restaurant from the drive-through window can affect the worker’s hearing, especially when the noise generates 85 dB or higher.
- Exhaustion – Many Wendy’s employees are required to work extended hours, often behind a hot grill or at the frying equipment that can lead to work and heat exhaustion. Without a break, an exhausted worker can suffer harm and injuries through physical fatigue, mental drain or overexertion.
- Workplace Violence –Many businesses like Wendy’s that stay open late hours or around-the-clock can expose workers to violence through theft or robbery. Many fast food workers have lost their lives when criminals attempt to rob the establishment.
According to statistics maintained by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), approximately 12% of all fast food workers become significantly ill each year that require time off from work due to diarrhea, vomiting or another health issue. However, because these workers make low wages and often need the money, many employees go to work while sick.
Wendy’s Workers' Wages
The annual employment data maintained by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year 2016 revealed that there were nearly 81,000 Fast Food Workers employed in the Chicago, Naperville and Arlington Heights metropolitan area. These statistics reveal that Wendy’s Workers earned on average $10.07 per hour, or $20,950 every year. This job-related income is significantly higher compared to national averages. See Chart
Wendy’s Cases Involving Crime
For many teenagers, generating an income before moving out of the house is an exhilarating experience of independence. Unfortunately, there is a significantly increased rate of deadly crimes, accidents, and incidents involving fast food workers. The cases below are just a small representation of the serious issues involved in working at Wendy’s and other fast food restaurants including McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr., Burger King, Long John Silver’s, Taco Bell, Arby’s and others. The fast-food restaurant cases involving crime include:
- Case 1: Prince George County, Virginia – multiple suspects were arrested in connection with a Virginia Wendy’s murder that occurred inside the restaurant. The incident involved the shooting death of a 20-year-old man who was dropping off his girlfriend at the Wendy’s restaurant when a 27-year-old suspect showed up at the scene and began shooting. Please pronounce the victim dead at the scene. An 18-year-old Wendy’s employee was also arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
- Case 2: Savannah Georgia – An early morning robbery at the Wilmington Island Wendy’s left one worker dead. The suspect remained at large. A Wendy’s employee was surprised by two masked men after midnight while cleaning the restaurant. The suspects forced the employee into the office at gunpoint to rob the establishment. However, at some point during the incident, the worker fired a weapon, killing one gunman in the parking lot.
- Case 3: New Holland, Pennsylvania – A customer at Wendy’s threatened an employee with death after becoming upset about the amount of cucumber in his salad. The worker stated that the customer told him “if I had a gun or knife you would be the first to go." The 58-year-old suspect became enraged after receiving his salad with fewer cucumber slices than he had expected. Allegedly, the customer threw the salad at a Wendy’s worker who feared for his life. The employee called the local police who arrested the suspect after nearly running the officers over in the parking lot.
- Case 4: Columbus, Ohio – A deadly shooting at a closed Wendy’s restaurant left one victim injured and another dead. Law enforcement interviewed the restaurant employees and had yet to determine a motive for the shooting. Some witnesses at the scene believe the incident is the result of retaliation.
- Case 5: Atlanta, Georgia – In October 2016 shooting incident at a Wendy’s restaurant involved an exchange of gunfire in the restaurant’s parking lot involving two cars. A 15-year-old victim was found injured at the restaurant and later died of his injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital. Another victim was also shot. That 15-year-old was located at a local apartment complex and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
- Case 6: Queens, New York – On the most horrific fast food restaurant crimes involved the killing of five employees in May 2000 that left another two employees seriously wounded during a robbery attempt. The “Wendy’s Massacre" involved a former Wendy’s employee and another man who forced seven employees into the basement freezer where they were gagged and bound. The former employee shot two victims before handing his accomplice the pistol while instructing him to execute the others. The seven deceased victims were all shot execution style in the head. Both shooters left the scene with $2400. After their arrest and trial, both men received a life sentence for the crime.
- Case 7: Independence, Missouri – A pregnant Wendy’s worker was attacked at the restaurant's drive-through window while working on a Sunday afternoon in June 2016. The 19-year-old was inside the building when three individuals dragged the woman through the restaurant's drive-through window before beating her up. Investigators determined that the attack involved a couple of straws. A female had left her vehicle and was standing at the drive-through window stating that the employee had forgotten to provide straws with their drinks. The victim stated, “mam, they are in your sack." However, before the worker finished her sentence, the girl along with another female customer pulled the worker through the window and began beating her. The victim suffered scrapes, cuts and severe trauma to the head.
- Case 8: East Orange, New Jersey – A Wendy’s restaurant manager was stabbed to death in September 1998 as the apparent victim of a robbery. The manager’s body was found at 7:00 AM with multiple stab wounds to the back of the head and back. The robbers took an undetermined amount of cash. There was no evidence of forced entry.
- Case 9: Jersey City, New Jersey – A June 2014 incident involved assault of a Wendy’s employee after an unknown female climbed through the restaurant's drive-through window before assaulting the worker. The employee was punched in the head and body numerous times during the early morning incident just after midnight. Local law enforcement officers did not locate the female suspect along with her male accomplice who was driving a maroon Oldsmobile away from the restaurant.
How to Obtain Compensation to Ensure Your Financial Recovery
Our law firm helps injured Wendy’s Workers obtain monetary recovery under the IL Worker’s Compensation Act and through civil lawsuits. Call Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers (888-424-5757) today for a Free Consultation.
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