DETROIT, Jan. 24, 2016 – A lawsuit has been filed against a Michigan Taco Bell franchisor by several of its Michigan employees for multiple violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at several of its retail outlets in the Detroit area. The collective action complaint, filed here in U.S. District Court, names the Brighton-based Sundance, Inc. as defendant.
Sundance, Inc. operates over 170 Taco Bell restaurants in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Ohio.
According to the complaint, Sundance doesn’t compensate employees of its Taco Bell outlets for all hours worked in a given week nor for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. The lawsuit also alleges that salaried general managers and assistant managers were misclassified as exempt employees and not paid for their overtime, even though they didn’t have the managerial authority or responsibility to meet exemptions from overtime pay set forth in the FLSA.
“The defendant regularly shifted the hours worked by its employees in one week over to the following week so that time records wouldn’t show when they worked more than 40 hours in a given week,” said co-counsel Megan Bonanni of Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers in Royal Oak.
Bonanni also noted that the practice of shifting hours and misclassifying workers to avoid paying them full wages is widespread among Taco Bell franchises and throughout the fast food industry.
“Numerous lawsuits citing similar violations of the FLSA have been filed against Taco Bell franchises throughout the country going back 15 years or more. Wage theft seems to be a standard operating procedure at many Taco Bell outlets,” said Bonanni.