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KFC Franchise Owner Must Pay Employees $375,000 in Back Wages

Hiren Patel forced employees to work overtime without any pay.

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The owner of 13 KFC locations in NYC must pay his employees $375,000 in back wages per a settlement with the state of New York. According to the Associated Press, franchisee Hiren Patel violated several labor laws between November 2011 and September 2014. Patel would not pay employees overtime, but would require them to work after they had clocked out. The New York Daily News writes that Patel's other violations included failing to pay for workers to launder their uniforms, requiring cashiers "to pay cash register shortages out of their own pocket[s] in order to keep their jobs," and making some managers exempt from overtime pay "while paying less than the salary required."

Authorities say that over 700 current and former employees are entitled to restitution from Patel. New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman notes, "Denying any workers, but especially those who are working for low wages, the pay they have earned is unacceptable and will not be tolerated." Since the investigation into Patel began, he purchased another 27 KFC locations under a different corporate name but Schneiderman says those restaurants along with the original 13 will be monitored closely "for compliance with labor laws."

Patel is just the latest in a string of restaurant owners that have had to cough up back wages over labor law violations. In December, Arizona restaurant Uncle Bear's Grill & Bar was forced to reimburse employees over $115,000 in overtime pay, and was also required to pay $15,000 in fines. Just a month before that, a group of restaurants in Los Angeles announced a settlement requiring them to pay $220,000 in back wages to 60 employees.

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