October 21, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court against Papa John’s pizza franchisee New Majority Holdings, LLC and its owner, Ronald Johnson, for significantly underpaying delivery workers in violation of State Labor Law.
The violations include failing to pay delivery workers the minimum wage, shaving hours from their pay, and requiring them to pay for bicycles and safety equipment used to do their jobs. The lawsuit seeks more than $2 million in restitution, damages, and interest for more than 400 delivery workers who were underpaid. The lawsuit also seeks to halt the illegal business practices that are ongoing.
"When I worked for Papa John's, I was cheated of my hours, and treated as less than human," said Darrell Roper, 51, a former New Majority Holdings employee. "Unfortunately that's the reality for so many delivery workers, but I know that today, we're on our way to getting justice."
The lawsuit stems from a year-long investigation by the Attorney General's Labor Bureau. The company brazenly shaved work hours from workers. The owner paid pizza delivery workers as little as $5 an hour, far less than the $7.25-per-hour minimum wage that was required for most of the time period covered by the lawsuit.
The company failed to pay proper overtime to delivery workers who worked more than 40 hours in one week. In addition, workers were required to purchase and maintain all bicycle delivery-related equipment that New York City law requires.
“Nobody who works 40 hours a week should have to live in poverty,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Like every other business in New York, fast-food employers must follow the law. My office will combat wage theft whenever and wherever we see it in order to protect the rights of hardworking New Yorkers, including pizza delivery workers and others who toil at fast-food restaurants.”
The Attorney General has also reached several settlements with fast-food franchises. In March 2013, the Attorney General secured a settlement with six Domino’s Pizza franchises, which collectively owned 23 restaurants, for unpaid minimum wages, overtime. In a separate matter in March 2013, the Attorney General secured a settlement of almost $500,000 for minimum-wage employees of McDonald’s franchises operated by the Cisneros Group. In December 2013, the Attorney General obtained reinstatement for 25 workers at a Domino’s pizza franchise located in Washington Heights, in New York City.