In honor of Labor Day, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued his third annual Labor Day report, Working for Justice, covering the enforcement actions of his Labor Bureau and the key policies promoted on behalf of working men and women. The labor cases he has pursued and the policies he has championed cover workers across the state and across industries; those working for small businesses, large corporations or on public works projects.
Some of the AG’s biggest achievements on behalf of workers this year include:
• Recovering almost $5.7 million for more than 3,300 low-wage workers, including fast-food employees, home health aides, taxi drivers, restaurant employees and construction workers, among others. Nearly $27 million for more than 20,000 workers victimized by wage theft has been covered, and $2.5 million in penalties against unscrupulous employers levied.
• A first-of-its-kind lawsuit against Domino’s Pizza as a joint employer responsible, along with three franchisees, for repeated violations of law and underpayment of workers at the three franchisees’ restaurants. $1.5 million for some 1,200 workers at 61 Domino’s stores across New York. His lawsuit against Domino’s corporate enterprise sought to hold the company responsible for the wage theft endemic to its franchises nationwide, given the level of control exercised by Domino’s over franchisees’ operations, including labor relations.
• Pursuing criminal prosecution for particularly egregious violators, including a home health care agency owner who repeatedly failed to pay his employees; a Papa John’s franchise owner who created fake records after being investigated by the U.S.
• Department of Labor, in joint investigations with the New York City Department of Investigations and the Inspector General of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, contractors on public works projects that paid below the legally required prevailing wage rates.
• Obtaining agreements from six retail corporations comprising 13 brands, such as the Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, and J. Crew to end the harmful practice of “on-call scheduling”, in which workers are required to call in to work a few hours in advance to find out if they are needed; such shifts require employees to obtain child care and forego other employment and educational opportunities without compensation.
• Ending unscrupulous noncompete agreements for workers at multiple companies, including Law360 and Jimmy John’s, after investigations by the AG’s Labor Bureau. Noncompete clauses are legal in New York only when a worker has highly specialized skills or access to trade secrets.