CONSUMER

Subway franchise owners must pay workers nearly $1M – and also sell or close their stores

Sep 29, 2023, 4:19 PM | Updated: 5:09 pm

FILE — MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 21:  A Subway restaurant is seen as the company announced a settlemen...

FILE — MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 21: A Subway restaurant is seen as the company announced a settlement over a class-action lawsuit that alleged that Subway engaged in deceptive marketing for its 6-inch and 12-inch sandwiches and served customers less food than they were paying for on October 21, 2015 in Miami, Florida. While it denies the claims, Subway said that franchisees would be required to have a measurement tool in stores to make sure loaves are 12-inches. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal court ordered the owners of 14 Subway locations north of San Francisco to pay employees nearly $1 million in damages and back pay — and also to sell or shut their businesses, with any sale proceeds going to the Department of Labor.

Federal investigators said franchise owners John and Jessica Meza directed children as young as 14 to operate dangerous machinery, assigned minors work hours that violated federal law, and failed to pay their employees regularly, including by issuing hundreds of bad checks and illegally keeping tips left by customers.

The Labor Department also charged that the Mezas coerced employees in an attempt to prevent them from cooperating with its investigation, sometimes threatening children who attempted to raise concerns about the work environment.

According to the court order, the owners acknowledged several of the Labor Department’s findings. Messages left for the Mezas at email addresses included in the settlement were not immediately returned.

 

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Subway franchise owners must pay workers nearly $1M – and also sell or close their stores