July 17, 2015
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – A Papa John’s franchisee with nine eateries in the Bronx is facing both jail time and hefty fines this week for allegedly stiffing some 300 workers out of almost a quarter million dollars in wages and overtime pay.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office has filed charges against Abdul Jamil Khokhar and BMY Foods, Inc. seeking incarceration and $230,000 in back wages.
This week’s actions also include a consent judgement requiring Khokhar pay an added $230,000 in liquidated damages to workers, as well as another $50,000 in civil monetary penalties on top of that.
“We will continue to be relentless in pursuing the widespread labor law violations, large and small, which we have found in the fast food industry,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “And I call on franchisors to stand up and stop the widespread lawlessness plaguing your businesses and harming your hardworking employees.”
According to court documents, Khokhar and his company created false identities in an effort to hide workers’ overtime hours and then filied bogus quarterly tax returns in an attempt to cover up the crime.
Make the Road New York, an advocacy group battling for low-wage workers in predominantly Hispanic communities, hailed the announcement of charges against the Papa John’s franchisees, saying that the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Labor are standing up for working people and sending a strong signal to employers who violate labor law.
“Wage theft undermines our economy, responsible employers, and working families," the grop said in statement. "Unfortunately, it continues to be a problem of epidemic portions, impacting millions of workers every year and dwarfing in comparison what is typically thought of as theft: burglary, larceny, and auto theft. Low wage workers and immigrants are the most common victims of wage theft, further exasperating poverty and inequity in our state.”
Earlier this year, Schniederman also lowered the boom on two other Papa John’s franchisees — Emstar Pizza and New Majority Holdings, for violating wage law at a cost of nearly $3 million in judgements. The fighting AG has also taken on Domino’s, McDonald’s and KFC franchisees for similar worker violations.
Khokhar was expected in court on July 15.