NEW YORK, NY — Starbucks to create a $150,000 restitution fund for all New York City employees whose Paid Safe and Sick Leave rights they violated and promote public education about the Law.
“In New York City, no corporation is above the law,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “In partnership with Attorney General James, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection found widespread violations of our Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, and thanks to their investigation, workers will now be able to enjoy the rights they are entitled to and get the restitution they are owed.”
A lengthy joint investigation that included multiple subpoenas, review of records and interviews with Starbucks workers found that Starbucks had an illegal sick leave policy that required employees to find a substitute when they used sick leave and that if an employee failed to find that substitute, it could result in “corrective action, up to and including termination of employment.” During the investigation, Starbucks corrected its policy and is now compliant with the Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law. The settlement requires Starbucks to pay restitution to current and former employees who were impacted by its illegal sick leave policy, to post an educational poster about Paid Safe and Sick Leave in all New York City stores, to notify all current New York City employees that they are covered by the City’s Law and are not required to find a replacement worker to use sick leave, and to submit a compliance report.
“It is frustrating that a major corporation like Starbucks with over 8,000 employees in New York City had an illegal sick leave policy to begin with,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “But we appreciate that they corrected the policy, have agreed to compensate the employers who were negatively affected and will be taking additional steps to help ensure all New Yorkers know about their rights. New York is committed to protecting workers and we want this case to be a message to all employers: no one is above the law. We will pursue any employer that violates their workers’ rights.”
Under New York City’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year in New York City must provide paid safe and sick leave to employees.