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Papa John's franchisee to pay settlement for allegedly underpaying workers

By Mark Payne | Feb 3, 2015

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman | New York Attorney General's Office

A Papa John’s franchisee will pay a settlement after it was found they allegedly underpaid employees, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Monday.

Emstar Pizza, Inc., which is operated by Emmanuel Onuaguluchi and runs six Papa John’s locations, allegedly underpaid employees by not reporting hours or rounding down hours. They also didn’t pay for fractions of hours in addition to not paying overtime hours. The franchisee will have to pay $789,507.86 in back wages, liquidated damages, uniform maintenance and interest to employees who worked at one of the locations over the last six years. In a separate judgement, Uchenna Onuaguluchi, the owner of Emstar Pizza, will pay $541,337.61 of this settlement.

“This judgment sends a clear message that like every other business in New York, fast food employers must follow the law. Depriving workers of their wages or other lawful benefits hurts families and communities and creates an unfair advantage for employers who don’t play by the rules,” Schneiderman said. “This Papa John’s franchisee brazenly violated the law, shaving employees’ hours and avoiding paying overtime by various means, including giving managerial-sounding titles such as ‘head driver.’ We will continue to combat wage theft whenever and wherever we see it to protect the rights of hardworking New Yorkers.”

The judgments also said the owners can’t sell any of the stores unless the profits from the sale go into an escrow account which will be used to provide restitution to employees.

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