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labor Retail Workers To Get $2.5 Million for Labor Violations

'Without enforcement, worker protections exist in name only. Companies should think twice before committing violations against their employees,' said Stuart Appelbaum, president of RWDSU.

People picketing outside Starbucks with signs and bullhorns
Several companies, including Starbucks, must pay $2.5 million in restitution and $230,000 in civil penalties to 3,000 workers for skirting city labor laws.,Duncan Freeman

Starbucks, Cava, a Burger King location and several other employers must pay $2.5 million in restitution to 3,000 workers for violating city labor laws, Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday.

The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection found that the companies did not comply with the city’s Fair Workweek and paid sick leave laws. The businesses must also pay more than $230,000 in civil penalties.

Cava, a Mediterranean fast casual chain, must pay over $1.3 million in restitution to more than 1,200 workers at all nine of its locations across the city for failing to follow all provisions of the Fair Workweek Law. It was also fined $150,000.

A health-care staffing agency, Regional Care Network, was also found to have unfairly refused to grant workers paid sick time and owes more than $363,000 to 1,200 employees, as well as $36,000 in civil penalties.

“In New York City, if you violate workers’ rights, you will pay the price,” Adams said in a statement. “We’re proud to announce millions of dollars we are putting back into the pockets of thousands of working-class people across our city because, without a strong working class, this city cannot survive. Each day, we are delivering for working people across the five boroughs no matter how powerful their employers might be.”

DCWP’s investigation found that Starbucks violated just cause protections under the Fair Workweek Law and illegally fired two employees. The company must pay the workers $7,500 in relief and back pay, as well as a $500 civil penalty.

Jako Enterprises LLC, which owned three locations of the apparel stores Jimmy Jazz and Hyperactive, failed to provide workers with advance notice of their schedules in violation of the Fair Workweek Law, according to the mayor’s office. It must pay $234,000 in restitution to nearly 190 workers and $20,000 in civil penalties.

Two Wingstop franchisees, Bronx Wings One LLC and Bronx Wings Two LLC, owe $209,000 to more than 170 workers and over $20,000 in civil penalties for failing to pay them premium pay for schedule changes, give them 14 days advance notice of their schedules and provide paid sick leave.

Two other employers, Creative Food Corp., a Burger King franchisee, and an Auntie Anne’s franchisee called Fresh Dining Concepts must pay $234,000 and $132,000 in restitution, respectively, for noncompliance with all aspects of the Fair Workweek Law.

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“As we reflect on 10 years of protecting workers’ rights, it’s important to recognize that all workers in our city deserve fair treatment in the workplace and the ability to exercise their rights under the law,” DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga said. “This administration is committed to protecting working people, and we won’t hesitate to hold businesses accountable for flouting the law.”

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, praised the DCWP for “holding companies accountable under these laws.” 

“Without enforcement, these protections exist in name only,” he said. “Because of DCWP, unscrupulous companies should think twice before committing violations against their employees.”