Papa Johns Deals Out Nearly $800,000 To Underpaid New York Employees After Lawsuit

Papa Johns deals don’t always work out for everybody. Sometimes it takes a lawsuit to make fast food franchises and other businesses follow the laws.

One particular set of Papa Johns locations in New York has been accused of going out of its way to avoid paying its employees what they’ve earned. Tactics in the accusation allegedly included giving promotions which changed nothing more than the job title, and intentionally cutting earned overtime.

Emstar Pizza, Inc., operates seven locations of the pizza chain in Queens, New York, and its owners, Emmanuel and Uchenna Onuaguluchi, were ordered to pay nearly $800,000 in wages that its employees never saw due to their allegedly shady practices.

This isn’t the first time Papa Johns was caught in something that probably cost the company a lot of money. A discovery at certain dairy farms caused three separate pizza chains to rethink where they get their cheese, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. Allegations of animal cruelty changed Pizza Hut, Dominos, and Papa Johns deals over the source of the topping.

New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman sued the pizza chain in December, claiming that they intentionally under-reported hours worked by employees, and rounded down the hours so they wouldn’t have to pay overtime. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the lawsuit alleges that Papa Johns had been doing this for six years.

It is common practice for some companies, like Walmart, to intentionally cut employees’ hours and force them to clock out in order to save costs for the individual store’s bottom line. While it isn’t entirely popular with the employees, it’s still legal as long as nobody works unpaid.

The Papa Johns locations involved will not be allowed to sell the stores unless the proceeds from the sale are held in escrow. Schneiderman has ruled that until the money is paid to the employees who earned it, there can be no further corporate Papa Johns deals for Emstar Pizza, Inc..

Eric Schneiderman gave an official statement on the Papa Johns lawsuit.

“This judgment sends a clear message that like every other business in New York, fast food employers must follow the law. This Papa John’s franchisee brazenly violated the law, shaving employees’ hours and avoiding paying overtime by various means, including giving managerial sounding titles such as ‘head driver.'”

A Spokeswoman from the pizza chain offered a possible explanation for the allegedly shady Papa Johns deals.

“As a company, Papa John’s International believes that all of its team members should be fairly compensated with market competitive rates and in accordance with the law. Papa John’s does not control or dictate independent franchisees’ employment activities, including the hiring, firing and compensation of their employees. Papa John’s International does not operate any company-owned restaurants in the state of New York.”

Similar lawsuits have been filed against McDonald’s and Domino’s Pizza over the last two years. Schneiderman has also sued New Majority Holdings, LLC, another Papa Johns franchisee, for the same thing.

What do you think of the alleged wage theft which has led to the revelation of bad Papa Johns deals?

[Image via Restless Beat]