Landscaping Company Allegedly Stiffed Wages And Threatened To Deport Legal Guest Workers. A group of legal guest workers employed as general laborers or landscapers are trying to recover unpaid minimum wage and overtime compensation from a Mississippi-based landscaping company after they were fired for complaining about their conditions, according to a complaint filed last week.
Backyard Lawn LLC, a landscaping company that performs commercial and residential landscaping for customers in parts of Mississippi and Tennessee, allegedly provided an employment contract for Meliton Bolanos-Ramirez and other unnamed complainants, setting an hourly minimum wage of $11.36 per hour and an overtime rate of $17.04 per hour. The company hired Bolanos-Ramirez and the other employees — all Mexican citizens — under the H-2B temporary foreign worker visa program, part of the H-2 sponsorship programs designated for agricultural or other “lesser-skilled” occupations, which grants them legal status. Papa John's Once Again Faces Wage Theft Allegations. Yet another New York-based Papa John’s franchise faces wage theft allegations, including claims that its owners refused to pay workers at least minimum wage and overtime pay.
According to the complaint filed by New York Attorney General Eric T. Papa John's Franchisees Pay Out Half A Million In Wage Theft Settlement. Four current and former Papa John’s Franchisees in New York City have agreed to a 500,000 dollar settlement to pay back 250 employees whose wages were stolen through illegal practices, like forcing them to work unpaid overtime and to work off the clock.
The settlement involved nine restaurants in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The franchisees admitted to violating minimum wage and overtime laws. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) has vigorously prosecuted wage theft in his state, treating it both as a civil and a criminal matter. In July, the Attorney General’s office arrested Abdul Jamil Khokhar, owner of nine Papa John’s stores in New York. Khokar could serve two months in jail for violating minimum wage and overtime laws. The criminal prosecution of Khokar, and the civil settlement requiring Papa John’s franchisees to pay back their employees, is a step in the right direction. Connecticut Wage Theft Law Shifts Burden of Proof from Employees to Employers. Lawmakers in Connecticut are requiring employers caught shortchanging workers out of wages to prove their actions were unintended, putting the burden on businesses for the first time.
Senate Bill 914, approved by the state legislature and signed by Governor Dan Malloy, gives employees the ability to collect double the amount owed to them by their employers. The new law is expected to deter companies from cheating workers out of regular and overtime wages. “This is going to mean the transfer of millions of dollars each year from cheating employers to low-wage workers,” James Bhandary-Alexander, a lawyer for New Haven Legal Assistance who represents victims of wage theft, told In These Times. Before the passage of SB 914, state law placed the burden of proof on employees, who had to show “bad faith, arbitrariness or unreasonableness” on the employer’s part in addition to wage theft. Labor advocates hailed the new law, though some said it did not go far enough in punishing employers.
Fair Day's Pay Act. In a victory for low-wage workers victimized by unscrupulous employers, California Gov.
Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill this week making it easier for employees to collect wages they’re owed. The measure, called the Fair Day’s Pay Act, gives the California Labor Commissioner the authority to penalize employers found guilty of wage theft, and to collect back payment on behalf of workers. Infographic via UCLA Labor Center Employers found to have stolen wages—and shell corporations created to evade judgements—must post a bond of between $50,000 and $150,000 or risk the statewide banning of their operations.
If they don’t pay up, the act empowers the Labor Commissioner to authorize a stop-work order against them or attach a lien to the employer’s property. Though California is home to some of the country’s strongest labor unions, wage theft among immigrant and low-wage workers persists. “Victims of wage theft are very often immigrants, women and people of color,” said Huerta. Walmart Violated Wage Laws, Stiffed Truckers Out Of Millions. The Fresno Bee Reported on Tuesday that U.S.
District Court Judge Susan Illston has ruled that Walmart broke California’s minimum wage law when the company failed to pay its drivers for all the tasks they do. The May 28th ruling argued that “under California law, the drivers must be paid for all the time that they were subject to Walmart’s control”. The Fresno law firm filing the suit on behalf of the truck drivers, noted that they were not compensated for a number of tasks performed, including waiting in line to load or unload cargo, washing and fueling their trucks, and filling out federally mandated trip slips. Illston found Walmart in violation of the law because they designated these required tasks as “unpaid activities”. Walmart could end up owing between 100 and 150 million dollars in back pay and penalties as a result of the ruling. Walmart attorneys challenged the ruling with deliberately obtuse arguments mocking the concept of paying truck drivers for every task.