Underpaid delivery workers who worked for five upper Manhattan Papa John’s locations are going to recoup their hard-earned dollars.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who said he’s fighting a “crime wave” of wage theft against fast food workers, announced a $2.1 million judgment against New Majority Holdings LLC and its owner, Ronald Johnson, on Thursday.
Bike deliveryman Luis Jimenez, who used to work at the 142nd Street and Broadway location, said he was only paid $5 an hour as a tipped employee to deliver food, but was assigned other work, such as making pizza, and should have been paid minimum wage. Jimenez said that after his bike was stolen, his bosses said he needed to buy another one, or be fired.
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Johnson will be responsible for repaying some 447 workers the wages he owes them, as well as unreimbursed expenses and interest.
Pizza sales from New Majority’s remaining locations will go toward paying back the workers, as would any proceeds from selling the stores themselves.
“We can only bring cases when workers have the courage to come forward,” said Schneiderman, urging underpaid workers -- many of whom are immigrants and English is limited -- to call the AG’s Labor Bureau.
Schneiderman filed the lawsuit against Johnson in October, after a year-long investigation found workers were paid as little as $5 an hour, paid less than the number of hours they worked and denied overtime.
Johnson could not be reached for comment.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced tipped wage workers will get an hourly wage increase to $7.50 from $5 by the end of the year, making them the highest-paid tipped employees in the country.
Papa John’s employees have joined other fast food workers across the country who have been demanding a $15 minimum wage in protests held over the past two years.