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Franchise pizzeria owner ordered to pay $2.1M in wage theft case

The Fair Labor Standards Act provides American workers with certain protections when it comes to employment practices. Among these protections is the right to fair wages. Currently the federal minimum wage is $7.25, however some states have set a higher state minimum wage. For example, according the Department of Industrial Relations, the current minimum wage in California is $9.00 and will increase to $10.00 next year.

Even though California's minimum wage is considerably higher than in other states, millions of individuals who earn minimum wage struggle to support themselves and their families. Unfortunately, some employers fail to abide by minimum wage laws and take steps to cheat employees out of hard-earned wages related to both regular and overtime hours. One example of this illegal practice includes a case against the pizza franchise company Papa John’s.

A judge in New York recently issued a $2.1 million judgment against the owner of five of the franchise pizzerias citing documented cases of wage theft. According to court documents, hundreds of employees were victimized when the employer engaged in illegal employment practices including failing to pay workers for hours worked and "shaving hours from their paychecks." This ruling is one of several in recent years that have favored minimum-wage fast-food workers.

Orange County residents who have been the victim of wage theft would be wise to contact an attorney who handles employment law matters. Employers who fail to pay workers overtime wages or actively seek to misclassify employees are violating federal employment laws and should be brought to justice. By taking legal action, an individual may be able to recover back pay and other monetary damages.

Source: Huffington Post, "Papa John's To Pay $2 Million After Short-Changing New York Delivery Workers," Reuters, March 5, 2015

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