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Subway Franchise Owners Sued by DOL for Wage and Hour, Child Labor Violations

March 10, 2012

The owners of five Subway sandwich franchises have recently been sued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA) by failing to pay proper overtime, minimum wage and child labor provisions from July of 2009 until July of 2011. The lawsuit seeks to recover back wages for 68 former and current Subway workers from Subway eateries in five different Ohio locations.

This wage and hour lawsuit that Howard law employment attorney Vincent Howard has been following, resulted from a DOL Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation, that found Hray Enterprises, along with owners Joseph and Tammy Hray, responsible for failing to pay employees for all hours worked after the Subway restaurants closed, when the employees had to finish nightly closing procedures--which resulted in violations of the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime payment provisions. The owners also allegedly made deductions from employees' wages for cash register shortages--which caused their compensation to fall below the required amount of $7.25, the federal minimum wage.

Hray Enterprises is also being charged with violating the FLSA's Hazardous Occupations Order No. 12, for allowing workers under the age of 18 to load, operate, or unload paper balers or trash compactors, which is prohibited under federal law. According to the DOL, five minors, who were employed by the Subway eateries were regularly required to load and operate one trash compactor and two paper balers.

The company was reportedly first investigated in 2005, and was found to have violated the FLSA's overtime, record-keeping, minimum wage and child labor provisions. The owners were fined $4,620 in penalties for FLSA child labor violations, along with $1,463 in back wages owed to 10 employees.

According to George Victory, the WHD's director of the Columbus District Office, all business are required to pay their workers fairly and to protect them from workplace safety hazards, and this case proved to be troubling, as this employer had already been found to have willfully violated federal laws in the past. The DOL states that the department will use all enforcement tools available in order to protect the rights and compensation of vulnerable workers, as well as the safety of minors in the workplace.

The lawsuit also seeks liquidated damages for the employees that equals the amount of back wages due, as well as additional civil money penalties for willfully repeating the FLSA violations. The lawsuit also seeks penalties against the company, for allowing minors to perform tasks that are hazardous and entirely prohibited by federal child labor regulations.

Our Riverside, California wage and hour attorneys represent employees who have experienced violations of state and federal labor and employment laws. Contact Howard Law, PC today for a free consultation about your California employment rights.

US Labor Department sues Subway franchisee to recover back wages, damages for 68 employees of 5 Ohio eateries, The U.S. Department of Labor Press Release, February 6, 2012

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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