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Oakland McDonald’s settles suit over dog diaper COVID masks

August 13, 2021 GMT

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — An Oakland McDonald’s has settled a lawsuit by employees who said the owner gave them COVID-19 masks made from dog diapers and coffee filters.

Thursday’s settlement requires the franchise owner to provide masks and gloves to all workers and provide other health and safety measures required by a judge last year, such as regular temperature checks.

The franchise owner didn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement.

The measures will remain in place for a year unless government health agencies no longer recommend them.

The Telegraph Avenue outlet shut down for a month beginning in May 2020 after 20 workers refused to show up, contending that 25 workers and their families, including a baby, had come down with the coronavirus.

After the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, employees asked for masks but received dog diapers and coffee filters as a stopgap measure and when they eventually received masks intended for one-time use they had to wear them for several days, the employees alleged.

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Three of the employees who sued also alleged that they were required to work despite having COVID-19 symptoms, and all later tested positive for the illness.

McDonald’s Corp., which wasn’t named in the lawsuit, requires masks for both employees and customers as COVID-19 surges across the nation, fueled by the delta variant largely spreading among unvaccinated people, public health officials say.

McDonald’s Corp. said that during the pandemic, all franchises were given a handbook outlining health requirements and procedures.

“While we’re confident that any outlier conduct like that alleged in these complaints does not reflect what has broadly happened and continues to happen across 14,000 U.S. McDonald’s locations, we’re no less focused on ensuring that we have clear processes and the right resources to promote the safety and well-being of crew and customers,” McDonald’s said in a statement shared with SFGate.