LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Midwestern fast-food chain Frisch's Big Boy agreed to pay a Louisville-area restaurant worker $30,000 after years of denying him overtime wages as required by federal and state laws. The agreement, reached earlier this year, settles a 2016 arbitration brought by Victor Cavano, who accused the company of illegally misclassifying him as a manager and therefore exempt from earnings overtime. Instead, Mr. Cavano was routinely forced to work in excess of 40 hours per week without compensation beyond his weekly salary, a clear violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The case could have broad implications for workers throughout the Frisch's Big Boy locations in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
"It was very difficult for me family, having to work long hours without fair compensation which would have helped me and my family make ends meet," said Victor Cavano. "This case isn't just about Frisch's, though. All over Louisville and across the country, restaurant employees are working long hours and not getting paid the money to which they are entitled. It's time for that to stop."
"This kind of wage theft has regrettably become normal behavior by corporations nationwide. Too many people are forced to work long hours, giving up valuable time with their families, without earning any overtime pay," said Fran Rudich, Partner at Klafter Olsen & Lesser, which represented Mr. Cavano the in the arbitration. "We are pleased that Mr. Cavano will get back some of his rightful earnings, and we will keep fighting to bring justice for the millions of hard-working Americans who are being denied the money they've earned."
Victor Cavano was hired by Frisch's Big Boy as an "assistant manager," meaning he was exempt from the FLSA's requirement that employees be paid time-and-a-half wages for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week. According to arbitration documents, although he was paid a salary, Cavano's job didn't involve any type of managerial work. He didn't have the authority to supervise other workers, to delegate tasks or to hire or fire other employees. Instead, he performed the same tasks as hourly workers, such as waiters, cooks, and other non-managerial employees.
As a condition of employment, Frisch's Big forces its employees to sign a binding arbitration agreement, waiving their right to bring most workplace disputes—anything from harassment to discrimination to wage theft–before a judge or to join forces with colleagues who might be facing similar issues.
Klafter Olsen & Lesser has developed an expertise in representing aggrieved workers in these mandatory arbitration cases. The firm has successfully negotiated similar settlements on behalf of employees across several industries and is actively pursuing cases to win a measure of financial justice for workers who rely on overtime to help make ends meet. Workers who feel they've been wrongly categorized as managers and unfairly denied overtime pay are encouraged to contact the firm, as are attorneys looking to refer such cases.
In recent years, the fast-food industry has demonstrated an alarming proliferation of worker exploitation and a disregard for labor protections. Various forms of wage theft, including denial of overtime pay, are evident throughout the industry. Roughly nine in 10 fast-food workers have reported being victims of some form of wage theft, according to a poll conducted by Hart Research in 2014. Furthermore, nearly half of fast-food workers who have put in more than 40 hours in a single week report not always receiving the overtime they are owed.
About Klafter Olsen & Lesser LLP
Klafter Olsen & Lesser LLP is a leading, national plaintiffs firm that specializes in complex individual, class and collective actions nationwide. With offices in New York and Washington, D.C., the firm boasts extensive experience in securities, employment, commercial, privacy and mass torts litigation, and has a thriving appellate practice. More information is available at www.klafterolsen.com or 914-934-9200.
Brian Levin: 646-200-5331
SOURCE Klafter Olsen & Lesser LLP