Le Pain Quotidien is no stranger to lawsuits. In two class action lawsuits, former employees are suing PQ Operations Inc., which owns and operates more than 140 Le Pain Quotidien bakeries worldwide.
The first lawsuit concerns servers who worked at restaurants in New York City that claim they have been denied minimum wage and overtime pay. Even though servers spent a substantial portion of work hours (over 20%) performing non-tipped tasks, they received the lower “tipped” minimum wage. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are allowed to include the tip in part of the hourly wage. However, these servers were performing tasks that did not tip, so they were routinely paid under the minimum wage. Servers also allege that they worked over 40 hours a week, but never received overtime compensation. This litigation is in its early stages.
The second lawsuit involves Plaintiff Michael Harvey who filed a suit in 2013, asserting that his former employer violated the California Unfair Competition laws. Harvey worked for Le Pain Quotidien from February 2012 to October 2012. Harvey alleges that Le Pain Quotidien hired him as an Assistant Manager, but gave him little to no supervising responsibilities. As an Assistant Manager, Harvey was a salaried employee and exempt from overtime pay and related benefits. However, Harvey argues that his Assistant Manager position was in name only, since he performed the same tasks as hourly employees. The lawsuit claims that Le Pain Quotidien deceptively classified Assistant Managers to cut costs and avoid paying overtime compensation and other related benefits. The complaint also alleges that in order to compete against other restaurants, PQ cut its labor costs by placing the burden on a small number of employees
The 2013 lawsuit focuses on Assistant Managers at Le Pain Quotidien. Assistant Manages engaged in tasks such as hosting, bussing tables, placing and running food orders, working the register, greeting customers, handling customer requests and customer service complains, taking inventory, opening and closing the bakeries, and cleaning and organizing the office.
Assistant Managers did not perform managerial tasks. Assistant Managers did not delegate tasks to other employees, did not help train employees, did not have the authority to hire, fire or promote employees, did not determine pay rates or benefits, or give raises. Assistant Managers were unable to make employment-related personnel decisions or disciplinary decision, since Human Resources made such decisions. Assistant Managers who worked over 8 hours in a workday and more than 40 hours in a workweek were not fairly compensated with overtime pay. Also, Le Pain Quotidien failed to provide required meal and rest breaks.
The lawsuit claims that Le Pain Quotidien violated California Unfair Competition laws by (1) misclassifying Assistant Managers as exempt workers; (2) failing to accurately determine the amount of working time of Assistant Managers performing non-exempt labor; (3) failing to reclassify Assistant Managers as non-exempt workers, when their actual tasks were compromised of non-exempt job functions; (4) failing to pay the correct overtime pay; (5) failing to provide mandatory meal and/or rest breaks; (6) failing to provide restitution of wages owed to employees.
In both class action lawsuits, Le Pain Quotidien misclassified worker’s job positions in order to cut costs and allegedly to cheat workers out of fair pay and overtime compensation.
Complete the form on this page if you believe you may qualify to join this lawsuit.