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Food For Thought: Food Preparation Workers Frequently Have Unpaid Wage Claims In NYC

August 6th, 2018 Victoria Breese

In New York City, an increasing number of unpaid wage lawsuits have been filed involving food preparation and delivery workers. This trend holds true for smaller restaurants and large chains alike. These workers, who are essential to the operation of a restaurant, often get skirted on overtime, tips, equipment costs, and more. Several high-profile cases demonstrate the severity and frequency of illegal violations against these workers.

Chop’t Creative Salad Company

Delivery and food preparation workers across New York City recently reached an $800,000 settlement with Chop’t Creative Salad Company. Employment violations occurred in at least 9 restaurants across the city. Workers accused Chop’t of not paying them minimum wages, overtime pay, and spread of hours wages. Chop’t management had a policy and practice of disguising workers’ actual duties in payroll records by designating them as delivery workers instead of non-tipped employees. Delivery drivers were allegedly required to spend more than 20 percent of each workday performing non-tipped duties. Additionally, the delivery workers were never reimbursed for their business expenses, such as bicycles, helmets, and lights. Employers are required to reimburse such expenses associated with delivery workers, including vehicle repairs and maintenance.

Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s has faced several employment lawsuits across the country and right here in New York. Last year, the New York Attorney General’s Office conducted an investigation into the company’s computer payroll system. The investigation concluded that, over a two year period, 78% of Domino’s stores listed pay rates for at least some workers below the minimum wage. Furthermore, 86% of stores listed pay rates below the required overtime rate. These widespread, blatant wage violations are shocking. Following the investigation, Attorney General Schneiderman urged Domino’s to recognize its wrongdoings, saying that “at some point, a company has to take responsibility for its actions and for its workers’ well-being.” Domino’s and the Attorney General ultimately reached a $480,000 settlement.

Cookies United

Cookies United, a company that operates in New York, sells cookies and other baked goods. They sell a wide range of sweet treats, but they don’t appear to be as sweet to their employees. Felipe Cruz, a former food production worker, filed a complaint last December against Cookies United. Cruz accused the company of refusing to pay him overtime pay, straight wages, and spread of hours pay. Furthermore, Cruz was not paid for the two 15 minute breaks he took each day. The law says that even breaks, when they are between 5 to 20 minutes, must be paid working time. This case is still ongoing, and no settlement has been reached between the two parties yet.  

Seek Wage Justice Today

Restaurant owners are legally accountable to follow all minimum wage, overtime, and spread of hours laws. You are entitled to your rightfully earned wages. If you believe you may have a legal claim to any of these often unpaid wages in New York City, the Working Solutions Law Firm can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced employment law legal counsel.