Lawsuit Accuses Chicago-Area Dunkin’ Donuts Franchisee Of Wage Theft

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When it comes to wage theft, it isn’t always so cut and dry as not paying someone what you promised them. One lawsuit out of Illinois accuses a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee with more than a dozen locations in the Chicago area of stiffing employees by forcing them to pay for cash register shortages and manipulating time sheets so as to get out of paying overtime.

The lead plaintiff worked as a shift supervisor at a Chicago location before quitting in August, and says that she was told to dock workers’ paychecks when the register was short, and to deduct time from their recorded work hours so that they wouldn’t get paid for overtime, just for their scheduled time.

“It made me feel real uncomfortable,” she said after a news conference reported by the Chicago Tribune, adding that “the owners seem to rely on revolving doors of workers.”

The lawsuit is seeking class-action status, and names the owner of 16 Dunkin’ Donuts franchises as well as the person in charge of payroll for those locations as defendants.

The lawsuit alleges violation of federal overtime and state minimum wage laws, and says the owner was aware of the practices but didn’t do anything to stop them.

“Merchant instructed managers to change the clock-in and clock-out time records in the store’s computer database to make it appear as though the plaintiffs worked fewer hours than they did,” the complaint reads, alleging that the owner regularly made deductions to wages for cash register shortages, and listed them as a line on their paychecks as “cash advance repayment,” without obtaining written authorization as required by state law.

The franchise owner said he was “very surprised” to hear about the lawsuit and denied any wrongdoing.

“We follow all the rules and regulations and everything,” he told the Tribune. “I don’t think that is a right comment from them. I don’t think it has ever happened like that.”

Former Dunkin’ Donuts workers sue franchisee, allege wage theft [Chicago Tribune]

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