Better ingredients, better pizza, but worse pay. Papa Johns forks over $500,000 for wage theft violations. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced four settlements totaling nearly $500,000 with three current Papa John’s Pizza franchisees and one former franchisee, who together owned a total of nine restaurants in Queens, The Bronx, and Brooklyn. The franchisees investigated by the Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division admitted to a number of labor violations, including minimum wage, overtime and other basic labor law protections. The employees underpaid by franchises announced in the settlements worked in several neighborhoods across Queens, as well as in neighborhoods in Brooklyn and The Bronx. “These settlements and our successful partnership with the Attorney General’s office are a warning to employers who choose to violate state and federal wage laws that we do not tolerate such mistreatment of employees and will actively work together to pursue and obtain proper compensation for workers,” said Jeffrey S. Rogoff, the regional solicitor for the U.S. Department of Labor. Back wages and damages will be distributed to over 250 underpaid workers. The agreements followed joint investigations into the franchisees, covering various time periods beginning as early as 2008. All investigated franchisees admitted to the violations of law outlined in the settlement agreements. The admitted violations included the following: • Some stores failed to pay employees the minimum wage and overtime wages required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state law. • Some stores violated a state requirement that employers must pay an additional hour at minimum wage when employees’ daily shifts are longer than 10 hours. • Some stores failed to provide adequate uniforms for employees for the number of shifts in a week, and also failed to pay the required uniform laundry allowance. In addition to payment of $469,355 in back wages and liquidated damages, the franchisees which remain open must also institute complaint procedures, post a statement of employees’ rights, and designate an officer to submit quarterly reports to the Attorney General's Office regarding ongoing compliance for three years, and one franchisee must also retain an independent monitor going forward.