ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In a recent announcement, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman indicated that a lawsuit had been filed on behalf of the state against Domino’s Pizza and three franchisees on the assertion that their employees were underpaid by over $565,000, according to Rochester First.
The lawsuit comes after a multi-year investigation into Domino’s payment policies revealed that the company required payroll computer system under-calculated gross wages. The system, PULSE, was frequently updated but flaws leading to employment underpay were deemed a too “low priority” to be included in any updates.
This lawsuit will mark the first time the Attorney General has named a fast food corporation as a liable party for labor violations in franchise stores. Domino’s is being named based on the assertion that they are a joint employer of the workers at the ten franchise locations whose workers were underpaid.
Joint employer claims are based on evidence that Domino’s micromanaged franchise employment activities including hiring, firing, and disciplining workers. Additionally, the company was also responsible for pushing an anti-union stance on franchise operators while closely monitoring job performance through onsite and online reviews.
The Attorney General’s investigation covered all New York-based Domino restaurants and discovered that 78% of franchisees listed rates for employees that were below the minimum wage and 86% listed rates below the federally required overtime rate.
Stated goals of the lawsuit include a determination that Domino’s is a joint employer of franchise workers, for an accounting to determine total restitution needs to occur, to find that Domino’s defrauded its franchises and violated state law, and to impose a monitor to prevent future infractions.
Twelve Domino’s franchisees named in a separate labor violation lawsuit have already settled with the Attorney General’s Office for a reported $1.5 million to be spread to workers in 61 stores.
Rochester Labor Regulation Information
According to the 2010 census, the city of Rochester is the third largest city in New York with a reported population of 210,565 permanent residents. With a large population and its geographical location at the center of a large metropolitan area, Rochester is home to thousands of employment opportunities.
A large employment base leads to companies intentionally violating labor regulations in an attempt to capitalize on unaware or trapped employees to maximize their own profitability. Because of this, all employees should be fully aware of the state and federal labor laws that grant them a full repertoire of employment rights.
The first and most known of these rights is an employees right to earn the state mandated minimum wage. Currently, New York’s minimum wage stands at $9.00 per hour and is adjusted in response to any federal minimum wage alteration.
In addition to a minimum standard wage there is a minimum overtime wage that must be paid to all non-exempt workers who work more than 40 hours in a standard work week. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that non-exempt workers must be paid a minimum rate of 150% standard hourly wage for all hours worked above 40.
However, employers have found several ways of successfully manipulating the payment system to avoid paying full overtime benefits or even minimum wage rates at times. These methods include altering time sheets, neglecting to record all employee hours worked, and automatically clocking employees out for breaks not taken.
With labor violations growing in occurrence in major cities, it is important that all workers stay vigilant for any indication of possible worker exploitation.
If you identify a labor violation committed by your employer, they cannot retaliate against you for pursing legal action against them or assisting a government agency with a labor violation investigation. Call (855) 754-2795 to speak with an attorney who can help you create an effective action-plan for combating your employers labor violations.