Drivers and pizza cooks will share a $448,000 payout from 23 Domino’s Pizza franchise owners around New York state under a settlement announced Thursday by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The payment ends Schneiderman’s investigation into how the stores illegally deprived delivery drivers of their car maintenance payments and tips, as well as failing to pay overtime for employees who worked more than 40 hours in a week. The stores reportedly acknowledge their wage thievery in the settlement.
Thursday’s deal is the second wage theft payout from Domino’s stores in the past two months and at least the third fast food chain wage theft deal this year in New York. In February, a Domino’s franchise in New York City struck a $1.28 million settlement with 61 delivery drivers who made similar charges. Last week, Schneiderman announced a roughly half-million dollar settlement between a McDonald’s franchisee and workers at seven of his stores.
The three recent New York settlements could offer a hint of the eventual outcome in seven separate wage theft lawsuits filed earlier this month against both McDonald’s franchisees and McDonald’s corporation. Workers allege that the company and its franchise owners systematically violated their labor rights and stole their wages by forcing them to clock out and stay on site whenever a computer system that monitors labor costs in real time showed that the store was losing money, among other abuses. Those lawsuits target stores across California, Michigan, and New York.
Food court workers at Union Station in Washington, D.C. filed a complaint in January claiming they’ve had $3 million stolen from them by similar practices.
Wage theft, which is an umbrella term for any employer practice that drives worker wages below the legal minimum or otherwise deprives them of money to which they’re entitled, is by no means limited to the fast food business. Professional cheerleaders, retail distribution warehouse workers, and truck drivers at multiple American ports have all alleged wage theft in recent months.
Official complaints about wage theft are up 400 percent since the turn of the century. Employers steal more money from their workers each year than what criminals net from every store holdup and bank heist combined, according to one study.