Food chains Panda Express, Au Bon Pain and 7-Eleven to pay $5M in settlements

August 17, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) has secured nearly $5 million in restitution for workers and civil penalties from three major restaurant chains, following months of investigation into violations of the City’s Fair Workweek Law. The settlements were reached with Panda Express, Au Bon Pain, and 7-Eleven’s “Raise the Roost.”

Under the Fair Workweek Law, fast food employers in New York City are required to give workers regular schedules, premium pay for schedule changes, the opportunity to decline additional work hours and the chance to take up newly available shifts before new workers are hired. Employers also must provide work schedules 14 days in advance that are consistent with regular schedules. These measures are meant to ensure a healthy work-life balance for fast food employees.

Panda Express will pay $3.15 million in restitution to more than 1,400 workers, along with $300,000 in civil penalties. A worker who was fired in retaliation for exercising his rights under the Fair Workweek Law will receive more than $8,000 in back pay.

Au Bon Pain will pay nearly $1.2 million to more than 950 workers and more than $108,000 in civil penalties.

7-Eleven’s “Raise the Roost” will pay nearly $143,000 in restitution to 30 workers, as well as over $9,000 in civil penalties.

“Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is already a challenge for so many New Yorkers, but it’s nearly impossible without a predictable work schedule,” said DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga.

Councimember Marjorie Velázquez (D-Northeast Bronx), chair of the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection, added, “Far too many corporations and management teams take advantage of their employees by violating their Fair Workweek rights.”

Workers can file complaints anonymously through the NYC Fast Food Workers Rights website or by calling 311. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for filing complaints.

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