Many American workers get taken advantage of by their employers because they don’t fully understand their rights as employees. This can be especially true when the workers are immigrants whose legal status may be questionable. However, this does not justify employers failing to pay their workers for all hours worked, including overtime.
Four Brothers Pizza Inn, a chain with nine restaurants in New York and Massachusetts, is currently facing a lawsuit by two former employees for allegedly taking advantage of some of their employees’ immigrant status. While employees were allegedly required to work between 60 and 72 hours each week on a regular basis, Four Brothers Pizza allegedly had them report only half their daily hours. When the employees were issued their paycheck, they were allegedly told to endorse it and return it to Four Brothers Pizza, whereupon they were then paid between $300 and $500 in cash.
Meanwhile, the employees allegedly faced racial discrimination in the workplace. This discrimination allegedly included racial slurs and threats to call immigration if any of them complained about the working conditions.
Due to their immigration status, the court has granted the plaintiffs’ motion to proceed anonymously as John Doe I and John Doe II. Protecting the identity of the employees is vital because of the possibility that they may face retaliation from Four Brothers Pizza. Many of them are the sole breadwinners for their families and so deportation would be catastrophic for them.
Four Brothers Pizza has an employment application on their website which can be submitted either through the website or downloaded as a PDF. The application asks if the applicant is legally eligible to work in the United States and makes references to the Immigration Reform and Control Acts of 1986.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys have requested the court to consider the case as a class action lawsuit. While Four Brothers Pizza is the only party with the records needed to determine the exact number of applicants, Milan Bhatt, the co-executive director of the Worker Justice Center of New York, which filed the lawsuit, says there is reason to believe that there could be as many as 75 potential class members. The class would include anyone who had been a full-time employee of Four Brothers Pizza any time between 2005 and 2012.
Nathanial Charny of Charny & Associates, who is serving as co-counsel on the case, believes that the employees could be owed as much as $1 million in unpaid wages and overtime. The amount would be doubled as a penalty to the pizza chain.
The lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against restaurants, and hotels for forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Naperville and Willowbrook. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Chicago Heights and Rosemont overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.