Domino’s may be crushing it when it comes to technological innovations, but its labor practices aren’t quite as impressive as its autonomous pizza robots. The chain was hit with a wage theft lawsuit last May, and it’s now been ordered to pay nearly half a million dollars in restitution to employees who were shorted on their pay, Consumerist reports.
The suit, filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, claimed 10 different Domino’s locations owned by three different franchisees were found to be committing numerous labor violations, including underpaying workers, failing to pay overtime, and not reimbursing delivery drivers for gas. But rather than filing suits against the individual franchisees, Schneiderman decided to go after Domino’s LLC, arguing that the corporation was heavily involved in operations at its franchised stores and was therefore at least partially responsible for said violations.
As a press release from the AG’s office explains, the $480,000 will be paid out to employees by the three franchisees, but that’s not the end of this for Domino’s LLC: The New York attorney general will continue pursuing litigation against the corporation in an attempt to have Domino’s classified as a “joint employer,” which is something fellow restaurant giant McDonald’s has been battling against since 2014.
McDonald’s has attempted to shirk responsibility for everything from low wages to lack of benefits by arguing that how franchisees pay their employees is none of the corporation’s business, but the National Labor Relations Board and the NY Attorney General believe these companies should be considered joint employers, meaning they can be held responsible for the actions of their franchisees.
The NLRB and McDonald’s are currently locked in a long and drawn-out federal court battle to decide whether or not McDonald’s classification as a joint employer will be upheld, and the eventual results could have far-reaching implications for the fast-food industry: If the joint employer ruling is upheld, fast-food companies across the country could be forced to take responsibility for working conditions at all of their franchised stores, not just the ones that are corporate-owned.
It could be a long while until that verdict is handed down, but in the meantime, Schneiderman says, “We will not allow businesses to turn a blind eye to blatant violations that are cheating hardworking New Yorkers out of a fair day’s pay.”
• Domino’s Must Pay $480,000 In Restitution To Underpaid Employees [Consumerist]
• Domino's Slapped With Wage Theft Lawsuit [E]
• How McDonald’s Labor Trial Could Affect the Entire Fast-Food Industry [E]