With so many labor laws at the federal, state, and city levels, it’s no wonder employers and employees alike sometimes get confused as to which laws apply to them, and in the event of conflicting regulations, which ones take priority.
The federal Department of Labor (DOL) exists to help enforce labor laws, conduct investigations into employers suspected of violating labor laws, and help educate employers on how to implement and maintain proper labor practices. Recently, the DOL reached an agreement with Subway in which the department agreed to help the giant subway chain develop training materials in order to instruct its franchisees on how to abide by federal labor laws.
According to the agreement, labor officials will attend meetings of Subway’s owners, as well as the company’s yearly convention. The parties have also agreed to share data regarding completed investigations into the employment practices of franchisees so both Subway and the DOL can analyze the data and come up with new ways to promote compliance with federal labor laws among all of Subway’s franchisees.
Under the terms of the agreement, Subway will also be able to decide whether its franchises should have their status stripped as a result of its record of violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
A spokesperson for Subway released a statement saying the company is making it a priority to increase awareness of relevant employment laws among its franchisees. The spokesperson pointed out that doing so helps increase staff loyalty while also reducing the risk of getting sued by its employees.
Subway franchisees have already faced more than 800 investigations by the DOL between October 2012 and September 2015. Those investigations found that the franchisees owed more than $2 million to about 6,000 employees. Approximately 11% of those cases were investigating franchisees with a history of alleged labor law violations.
In various public statements made by both Subway and the DOL, the two parties recognize that, although the agreement is unique, they both think it will provide definite benefits to everyone involved, including the company, its franchisees, and its employees.
As the largest franchisor in the United States, Subway wants to make sure its franchisees are properly equipped to abide by all relevant labor laws.
The DOL also said that the agreement is groundbreaking in that it represents cooperation, not just between the DOL and an employer, but the entirety of the employer’s supply chain, including retailers, franchisees, and suppliers.
The DOL is confident that this agreement can demonstrate the ways in which businesses can work together with the government to solve common employment problems, and at the same time, protect workers who are vulnerable to exploitation by their employers. This agreement is an original way for both the DOL and one of the largest companies in the country to ensure that workers in America are receiving fair pay for all the work they do and the benefits they provide to their employers.
Although both parties have said this agreement is the first of its kind, it might not be the last.
Our Gurnee and Waukegan wage and hour attorneys and unpaid overtime lawyers and attorneys are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages. We represent call center workers who are forced to work overtime but are not paid time and half wages.
Nationwide Consumer Rights is based in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace. We represent clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (877) 990-4990 or through our online form.