McDonald’s ordered to pay overtime to outlet manager

The Tokyo District Court on Monday ordered McDonald’s Co. (Japan) Ltd. to pay more than 7.5 million yen in unpaid overtime wages to the manager of an outlet in Saitama Prefecture, saying the man is not considered to actually be in a managerial position.

Presiding Judge Iwao Saito said McDonald’s outlet managers’ discretion is limited within outlets and the position is not considered a managerial post that integrally works with company owners.

Observers say the ruling is significant in that it would impact about 1,700 managers of the hamburger chain’s direct-run outlets and other management-labor disputes. Similar lawsuits have been filed by managers of chain bookstores and moneylenders, but this is the first ruling that would affect such a large number of employees of a single company.

Hiroshi Takano, the manager of McDonald’s 125 Kumagaya outlet in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, was seeking about 13.5 million yen as compensation for two years of unpaid overtime plus damages.

Joining the company in 1987, Takano was promoted to outlet manager in 1999.

As outlet manager, Takano, 46, still has to work from early morning until late at night, cooking and attending to customers. Though his overtime exceeded 100 hours some months, the company stopped paying overtime wages, claiming that Takano was in a managerial position.

The issue in contention in the suit was whether McDonald’s outlet managers are considered to be in corporate managerial positions.

The Labor Standards Law obliges employers to pay overtime for those who have worked longer than eight hours a day or 40 hours per week, and on holidays. However, the stipulation is not applied to “those in managerial or supervisory positions.”