US Immigration and New York Employment Law

Papa John’s to Pay $469,355 in Back Wages and Damages

Yesterday, October 15, 2015 New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and U.S. Department of Labor announced that four Papa John’s Pizza franchisees would have to pay nearly half a million dollars in back wages and damages to more than 250 their workers. These are the conditions of four settlements with three current and one former Papa John’s franchisees, owners of nine restaurants in Queens, The Bronx, and Brooklyn.

As a result of investigations and following settlement the four Papa John’s Pizza franchisees admitted that they had committed numerous violations of labor laws, including provisions on minimum wage, overtime, as well as some other basic rights. The violations were committed against Papa John’s Pizza employees in Queens, The Bronx, and Brooklyn.

According to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, Papa John’s Pizza franchises in New York City “are ripping off their workers and violating critical state and federal laws.” He put all other food chains across the State of New York on notice that he would not stop investigating until all workers in the industry “are treated with respect and paid lawful wages.”

The New York Attorney General led the investigation starting from 2008. All the four franchisees admitted various violations of federal and state labor laws, including failure to pay the minimum wage and overtime, failure to provide employees with necessary uniform and pay the required uniform laundry allowances.

The four Papa John’s Pizza franchisees will have to pay the total of $469,355 in back wages and damages. This amount will be distributed among over 250 Papa John’s workers. The three franchisees that remain open will also have to establish a special complaint procedure, post a statement of employees’ rights, as well as submit quarterly reports to the Attorney General’s Office about the compliance for the next three years.

This is not the first investigation of Papa John’s Pizza by the New York Attorney General’s Office. In February and March of 2015 there was a judgement for almost three million dollars against two other Papa John’s Pizza franchisees for violation of wage laws.

The Papa John’s Pizza cases are two more examples of how employees’ right at workplace can be protected. This is a strong message to all employers in the state that are trying to cut corners by underpaying their employees and violating labor laws.

Minimum wage of the fast-food industry workers in New York City will be raised to $15 an hour by December 31, 2018, and all over the State of New York by July 1, 2021.