This past Friday, WJCNY filed a complaint in U.S. District Court on behalf of over 200 current and former employees of a large-scale food processing, packaging, and distribution plant operated by Café Spice, Inc. in New Windsor, NY. The lawsuit alleges that the company’s treatment of its workers violates the minimum wage, overtime and timely payment provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the minimum wage, overtime, timely payment and unlawful deductions provisions of New York Labor Law. The case was brought by six former Café Spice, Inc. employees who seek relief for themselves and other similarly situated current and former employees.
The defendant, Café Spice, is a popular and highly profitable culinary enterprise that includes numerous restaurants, express booths, and a wholesale division that provides prepared dishes to retailers and food service companies across the country, such as Whole Foods and Sodexo. The company grosses an estimated $25 million in sales annually. Despite the company’s purported commitment to social responsibility, workers at Café Spice’s wholesale production facility describe widespread and varied labor violations over the past decade. Plaintiffs allege that the company drastically increased production and ignored dangerous working conditions while reducing break times, demanding longer hours and “off the clock” labor, failing to pay wages in a timely manner, taking unlawful deductions from employees’ paychecks, misclassifying workers, failing to provide spread of hours pay, failing to provide proper hiring and wage notices, and neglecting to pay the required minimum wage and overtime rate. “Many of us worked for the company for years under very tough conditions,” says Plaintiff Isaac Runciman. “We are only asking for what we are owed and what is just.”