Delivery Service Chowbus Sued For FLSA Wage Violations

Chowbus, an online food delivery service application focused on Asian restaurants was sued by former employees in a collective-action complaint filed on Wednesday in the Southern District of New York for labor violations.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs worked for the defendants “in excess of 40 hours per week, without appropriate minimum wage, overtime, and spread of hours compensation for the hours that they worked.” The defendants allegedly maintained a policy that required employees to work more than 40 hours per week, but did not provide the legally required minimum wage and overtime compensation.

The plaintiffs noted that each of the defendants controlled the plaintiffs and other similarly situated employees’ working conditions, as well as the related policies and practices. The plaintiffs averred that the defendants “failed to maintain accurate recordkeeping of the hours worked and failed to pay Plaintiffs appropriately for any hours worked,” including both the standard hourly rate and the overtime pay. Instead, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants failed to pay them the mandatory “‘spread of hours’ pay for any day in which they had to work over 10 hours a day,” and failed to pay them on time. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants had a “policy and practice of unlawfully appropriating Plaintiffs’ and other tipped employees’ tips and made unlawful deductions from” the plaintiffs’ wages.

For example, one of the plaintiffs claimed that he worked from 11:00 am until approximately 10:00 pm for six days a week, totaling approximately 66 hours in a typical week. Reportedly he was paid $150 per day from March 2020 until August 2020 and paid $135 per day from September to October 2020. Furthermore, he proffered that his “pay did not vary even when he was required to stay later or work a longer day than his usual schedule.” Additionally, this plaintiff noted that he was not notified by Chowbus that “his tips were being included as an offset for wages” and that the defendants “did not account for these tips in any daily or weekly accounting of” his wages; however, Chowbus purportedly withheld all of his tips. Additionally, he was not required to keep track of his time, and he is not aware of any tracking system to accurately capture the actual hours he worked. As a result, the plaintiff claimed that Chowbus made improper and illegal deductions from his wages, without his knowledge, permission; specifically, the defendants allegedly “deducted half the value of any mistaken order” from the plaintiff’s weekly wages. The plaintiff added that he was never notified of his rate of pay, his employer’s regular payday, as required by New York law.

The plaintiffs alleged that Chowbus violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, New York Labor Law, New York Minimum Wage Act and New York’s Spread of Hours Wage Order regarding minimum wage, overtime compensation, and liquidated damages claims.

The plaintiffs have sought collective action certification and for the plaintiffs and their counsel to represent the class; declaratory judgment in their favor; an award for damages, costs, and fees; and other relief. The plaintiffs are represented by Michael Faillace & Associates, P.C.