Yes, today is April 1. This news item is not a joke. Last week, the office of the New York State Attorney General announced a settlement with 23 Domino's stores regarding wage theft charges. The settlement includes a restitution payment of $448,000 for alleged underpayment wage violations. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said:
"The violations in these cases demonstrate a statewide pattern of Domino’s franchisees flouting the law and illegally chiseling at the pay of minimum-wage workers... My office will be relentless in pursuing fast-food employers that underpay the hardworking people who are the backbone of their operations.”
The Domino's restaurants are located in eight counties: New York City, Dutchess, Erie, Nassau, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk and Westchester. The restitution payment will go directly to 750 minimum-wage workers. Most workers will receive $200 to $2,000.
The attorney general's office conducted an investigation and found that from 2007 to 2013, the restaurants:
"Some franchisees paid delivery workers as little as $5 per hour, which is below the $5.65 tipped minimum wage that has applied to delivery workers since 2011 under New York law.
Two franchisees failed completely to pay adequate overtime, as required by law. Other franchisees underpaid overtime because they did not combine all hours worked at multiple stores owned by the same franchisee or because they used the wrong formula to calculate overtime for tipped workers, unlawfully reducing workers’ pay.
Delivery workers who used their own cars to make deliveries were not fully reimbursed for their job-related vehicle expenses. Delivery workers who used their own bicycles to make deliveries were typically not reimbursed for any expenses related to maintaining their bicycles, nor were they provided with protective gear as required by New York City law.
Some stores violated a state requirement that employers must pay an additional hour at minimum wage when employees’ daily shifts are longer than 10 hours.
Some stores also violated a state requirement that employers must pay restaurant workers for at least three hours of work when those employees report to work for a longer shift but are ultimately sent home early because of slow business or other reasons."
The settlement agreement requires the restaurants to implement a complaint process, provide bi-lingual employee handbooks, train supervisors on labor law, post a statement of workers' rights, and submit compliance reports quarterly to the Attorney General's Office. Two restaurants with the most violations are also required to hire an independent auditor that will conduct unannounced inspects for the next three years.
Investigations of additional Domino’s franchises are ongoing.
Congratulations to the Attorney General and his staff for excellent work.