Owner Failed To Pay Overtime Wages To Employees
The owner of nine Papa John's franchises was sentenced to 60 days in jail and a fine of $230,000.00 for failing to pay wages to his employees and for falsifying business records.
According to the New York Attorney General, the franchise owner paid his workers the same minimum wage rate of pay for all hours worked, including hours in excess of forty in a week. Both New York and federal law required the franchise owner to pay his workers one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in any given workweek.
Scheme To Cover Up Wage Theft
The franchise owner failed to pay overtime wages to more than 300 current and former employees. To make matters worse, he attempted to cover up his failure to pay. In an elaborate cover up scheme, the owner created fictitious employees to take credit for the hours that the employees worked over 40. The owner would then pay the real employees their regular minimum wage rate of pay, no matter how many hours they worked per week.
Is Criminal Prosecution The New Trend For Wage Theft?
The Papa John's franchise owner's violations were particularly egregious because he falsified business records in an attempt to cover up his violations of the law. Such criminal prosecution, however, may be a part of a new trend to tackle employers' wage theft.
Hillary Clinton recently stated in September 2015, "I'm going to make sure some employers go to jail for wage theft." The New York Attorney General also promised that his office "will do everything in its power to protect the rights of  workers and make sure that all employers . . . follow the law."
Failure to follow wage and hour laws can have serious consequences for employers that extend beyond civil, i.e. financial, liability. While criminal prosecution for wage theft is still rare, political figures and attorney generals across the country have begun using their authority to enforce wage and hour laws through criminal prosecution.
Have You Been Underpaid By Your Employer?
If your employer has failed to pay you all of your wages, including you regular and overtime wages, Contact Sani Law today to schedule a free consultation. We will aggressively pursue compensation from employers that fail to follow the law.