Tag Archives: Dunkin’ Donuts

Denny’s Restaurants Cheated Assistant Managers out of Overtime Wages According to New York lawsuit

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Denny’s restaurants paid Assistant Managers on a salary to avoid paying them overtime, according to a lawsuit filed in New York federal court. An Assistant Manager in Horseheads, New York alleges he worked 50 to 70 hours per week on average, but was not paid overtime compensation at time- and-a-half his regular hourly rate for all hours worked over 40 each week.  Instead, he says Denny’s paid Assistant Managers an annual salary regardless of the number of hours worked.

The lawsuit is directed at franchise FEAST American Diners LLC, which operates 17 Denny’s restaurants in New York.  Attorneys for the Assistant Manager claim that Assistant Managers at Denny’s had primary job duties that included preparing food, helping customers, bussing tables, cleaning the restaurant, labelling and rotating food product, and checking inventory.  The lawsuit alleges that the Assistant Managers did not exercise the responsibilities of a manager or use independent judgment and discretion in running the restaurants, as they did not hire, fire, discipline, or direct the work of other Denny’s employees.

The lawsuit claims that Denny’s restaurants did not provide labor budgets with enough money to cover all hours needed to complete the necessary manual labor tasks.  As a result, they contend Denny’s had knowledge that this underfunding led to Assistant Managers working more than 40 hours per week while mainly performing the overtime-eligible work tasks described above.  The lawsuit also alleges Denny’s failed to keep accurate time records, does not record all hours worked by Assistant Managers, and failed to post a notice explaining the minimum wage and overtime wage requirements anywhere in the restaurants.

This lawsuit continues a recent trend of restaurant workers alleging misclassification as Assistant Managers so they would be “exempt” from the FLSA requirement to receive overtime pay at time and a half for hours worked over forty in a workweek.  Other restaurants hit with lawsuits claiming Assistant Managers were paid a salary to avoid overtime pay include Cracker Barrel, Dunkin Donuts, Chipotle, Jack in the Box, and Jimmy John’s.


Westchester County Dunkin’ Donuts Settles Sex Harassment Lawsuit for $150,000

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A Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee in Westchester County, NY will pay $150,000 to former workers to settle a sex harassment lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Hillcrest Marshall, a franchise which owns multiple Dunkin’ Donuts locations. The lawsuit claimed that the Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee violated federal law by subjecting female employees, some of whom were in their teens at the time, to sexual harassment by a store manager at one of its stores. According to EEOC’s lawsuit, among other things, the store manager talked about his genitals, tried to kiss a female worker who was 20 years old at the time, and pressured her to have sex. After she rejected him, the manager regularly hit, cursed and yelled at her. When she contacted the police, she was terminated in retaliation for resisting his advances.

Under the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, Hillcrest Marshall ceased to employ the manager and agreed not to rehire him. In addition to payment of $150,000 to the harassment victims, Hillcrest Marshall will train the managers at all of their stores of their obligations under the law; institute strong anti-discrimination and complaint policies for all of its employees; and designate a senior manager to receive all complaints of discrimination and harassment.


Workers Sue for Wage Theft at Long Island Dunkin Donuts Locations

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Employees at Dunkin Donuts locations on Long Island were cheated out of their wages, according to a lawsuit filed by the workers’ attorneys in New York Federal Court. According to the wage theft lawsuit, Dunkin Donuts workers at several Long Island stores routinely worked 70 – 90 hours a week, but were never paid for all the hours they worked. The workers were constantly subject to time shaving and routinely required to work off the clock, and therefore deprives of minimum wage and overtime pay required under the labor laws.

According to the wage theft lawsuit, Dunkin Donuts consistently failed to pay workers the number of hours recorded on their time cards. In addition, workers were ordered to work at other Dunkin Donuts stores when they completed their shifts and were forced to either not clock in there or clock in under former employees’ names. Employees were not paid for this work, sometimes as many as 30 extra hours a week. Furthermore, the Complaint contends that the two workers who filed the lawsuit were threatened when they complained to management about these illegal practices and were terminated in retaliation for filing a complaint with the Department of Labor.

The workers’ wage lawsuit alleges violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law. Attorneys for the workers are seeking lost wages, liquidated damages, penalties, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Store Managers at Dunkin Donuts Will Receive $200,000 in Back Wages in Department of Labor Settlement

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The operator of 55 Dunkin Donuts franchise locations throughout New Jersey and Staten Island, N.Y., has agreed to pay $197,787 in back wages owed 64 employees after an investigation conducted by the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found minimum wage and overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Investigators from the division’s Southern New Jersey district office found that Edison-based QSR Management LLC, did not pay overtime to store managers, as required by the FLSA. QSR incorrectly claimed its managers at all 55 locations were exempt from overtime.  Aa result of these violations, 56 non-exempt store managers will be paid a total of $197,550 in back wages. Investigators also found that at two locations management took tips from customer service workers to cover register shortages, resulting in minimum wage violations.

“The FLSA was passed 75 years ago with minimum wage and overtime provisions to protect workers and level the playing field for employers. There are exemptions to some provisions but employers are responsible for determining exactly when and how these exemptions apply,” said Patrick Reilly, director of the division’s Southern New Jersey Office. “These managers worked long hours and are entitled to the protection the FLSA affords them. An employer’s failure to pay overtime when required gives them an unfair competitive advantage, violates the rights of the employee, and will not be tolerated.”

Department of Labor investigators found that store managers were treated as exempt from the overtime requirements and argued that these managers were salaried. The company actually treated them as hourly employees, reducing their pay when they worked less than 60 hours in a week. Although the Fair Labor Standards Act allows an overtime exemption for management employees who perform certain job duties, the exemption only applies if the managers receive a guaranteed weekly salary of at least $455. Though these managers performed the duties required for the exemption, QSR failed to pay its managers a guaranteed weekly salary in all workweeks, and therefore store managers were entitled to overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. QSR has assured compliance with the FLSA and has agreed to pay all back wages. As part of its commitment to future compliance, QSR has changed its employee handbook to reflect its intent to properly apply any valid exemptions, and to no longer allow management to take tips from employees.

The FLSA requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and ½ the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. However, Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees. Section 13(a) (1) and Section 13(a) (17) also exempt certain computer employees. To qualify for exemption, employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week.

Dunkin’ Donuts Franchise Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $290,000

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A sex harassment complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) against a Wynantskill, New York Dunkin’ Donuts has settled for $290,000.  The Consent Decree, approved by a federal court judge in the Northern District of New York on May 27, 2011, provides for the franchise company, College View Donuts, LLC, to compensate 15 former female employees and to change the operations and procedures of the entire franchise company.

The lawsuit alleged that a male manager made frequent and repeated unwelcome sexual comments to and about female employees, including telling them that they were “hot” and that he preferred virgins, asking them about their sex lives, and describing in detail the sexual acts he wanted to perform on them.  The manager made comments about customers’ bodies and whether he was attracted to them.  In addition, he grabbed, touched, hugged, rubbed, lifted, tickled, and attempted to kiss the female employees without their consent because of their sex.  Although the female employees, some of whom were teenagers, complained about the sexual harassment, Dunkin’ Donuts failed to effectively remedy the hostile work environment or prevent further harassment.  According to the EEOC, the manager was finally fired after the employees reported his conduct to the police, and he was arrested.

In addition to paying $290,000 to the former employees, the company will be bound by a six-year consent decree enjoining it from engaging in further discrimination or retaliation.  The decree calls for the appointment of an EEO coordinator and training for all employees and managers on sexual harassment prevention.  The company must also issue a letter of apology to the women, revise its anti-discrimination policies and complaint procedures, post a notice to employees about the resolution of the lawsuit, and never re-hire the manager responsible for the harassment.