The management of a taco catering truck has two weeks to respond to a lawsuit claiming one of their workers was overworked and underpaid. The worker alleges he typically worked more than 70 hours a week with no overtime pay and that his employers is in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and New Jersey Wage and Hour Law.
According to the charges, the former employee worked on the trucks in various capacities during 2013. His average weekly pay was just over $600. The man claims his typical work week was twice the number of normal hours, and for so many days a week, he often had to spend the night in the work truck. His former employer counters he was let go due to excessive company policy violations.
His management stated in court records that the taco truck was in compliance with federal and state wage laws, and they feel they provide a healthy working environment. They will continue to dispute the ongoing claims, but maintain their work ethic and employee satisfaction have been well-documented.
A collective action is pending against the business owners as other individuals with similar complaints may opt-in to the suit. The number of individuals who will opt-in is not clear, but it has been speculated there are other workers alleging they were taken advantage of in like manner. The contention is that these violations run deep.
In this case, the claimant is seeking financial compensation for unpaid overtime, legal fees and related damages. It has not been made clear how much the taco truck could owe the claimant. What remains clear is the wage and hour laws at the federal and state level have been established to promote employee rights and prevent unfair pay practices, such as too much unpaid overtime and issues relating to the number of hours a week an individual can legally work.
Source: nj.com, "Taco hell: Lawsuit against food truck claims employee was overworked without pay" Kathryn Brenzel, Dec. 09, 2013