What's their secret ingredient? Greed.
Emstar Pizza Inc. (which owns seven Papa John's pizza locations in Queens and Brooklyn) and its owner Emmanuel Onuaguluchi have been ordered to pay workers $789,507.06 in unpaid wages and other costs.
“This judgment sends a clear message that like every other business in New York, fast food employers must follow the law,” New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “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.’
This ruling follows a long probe set up by the Attorney General's office going back a few months:
Local franchises are being eyed for possibly cheating workers out of overtime pay by masking a more than 40-hour-a-week schedule by having workers divide their time between two stores, sources said.
For example, a franchisee with two stores would have one employee work 20 hours at one store and 30 hours at another. Since each store is a separate company that reported the labor numbers to the state separately, it’s hard to tie them together.
The Attorney General's office is still looking at potential legal action against Papa John's corporate entity, according to the New York Post:
“We might expect something against the franchisor soon,” a source familiar with the situation said.
The plan is to tie Onuaguluchi’s violations to John Schnatter, the company’s telegenic founder and chief executive, who is often seen on TV alongside NFL great Peyton Manning pitching pizzas.
[Italics mine just because of word choice.]
That could be tough for Mr. Schnatter, who has already threatened to jack his prices up for fear of having to offer healthcare to workers, thus taking important financial resources away from black hair dye.
It couldn't happen to a nicer fellow.