Photo Courtesy of the State Attorney General’s Office
AG Schneiderman on Monday released his third annual Working for Justice Labor Day report.
By Forum Staff
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Monday issued his third annual Labor Day report, “Working for Justice,” which covers the enforcement actions of the AG’s Labor Bureau and, as Schneiderman put it, the policies he has promoted on behalf of the labor force.
“As Attorney General, I remain steadfastly committed to ensuring that workers are paid for the work they do, that their pay lifts them out of poverty, and that undue obstacles aren’t placed in their path to job security and economic advancement,” Schneiderman said. “I celebrate the progress we made over the past year, and will continue fighting for the working men and women who contribute so much to our great state.”
Some of the more notable achievements on behalf of workers over the past 12 months 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. Since taking office, Schneiderman said he and his staff have recovered nearly $27 million for more than 20,000 workers victimized by wage theft, and levied $2.5 million in penalties against unscrupulous employers.
- 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. Since taking office, A.G. Schneiderman has recovered $1.5 million for some 1,200 workers at 61 Domino’s stores across New York. His lawsuit against Domino’s corporate enterprise rightfully seeks 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.
- Successfully 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; and, 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 non-compete agreements for workers at multiple companies, including Law360 and Jimmy John’s, after investigations by the AG’s Labor Bureau. According to Schneiderman, non-compete clauses are legal in New York only when a worker has highly specialized skills or access to trade secrets.
“While my office relies on existing law to protect workers and hold unscrupulous and exploitative employers accountable, we are also on the cutting edge to surmount new or seemingly intractable challenges in the workplace,” Schneiderman noted in the report’s introductory remarks . “We strive daily to ensure that workers rise above poverty wages, are paid for the work they do, are treated with dignity and respect, and can aspire to a life of financial security and greater opportunity.”