WJCNY Files Class Action Against Café Spice, a Major Prepared Food Supplier, For Array of Labor Violations at New Windsor Plant
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Robert McCreanor, Esq. 845-331-6615 ext. 1007
Laura Revercomb, Esq. 845-331-6615 ext. 1008
Kingston, NY – On Friday November 9, 2018, the Worker Justice Center of New York (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.”
The plaintiffs are seeking restitution for their earned but unpaid wages, liquidated damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, and interest, as well as declaratory relief. “All employers should be held accountable when they violate labor standards. When a large and profitable company like this violates basic federal and state protections for workers, it is especially egregious,” says WJCNY Legal Director Robert McCreanor. “The workers who have come forward to bring this case are courageous and deserve justice.”
Worker Justice Center of New York Staff Attorney Laura Revercomb and Legal Director Robert McCreanor serve as attorneys of record in the litigation and are assisted by Paralegal Nathalia Rosado-Oliveras and Worker Rights Advocate Kihani Brea. WJCNY is a non-profit organization that pursues justice for those denied human rights with a focus on agricultural and other low wage workers, through legal representation, community empowerment and advocacy for institutional change. WJCNY’s Litigation Program builds on decades of success in achieving justice for victims of wage theft and other workplace abuses throughout New York State. Our offices have represented thousands of low-wage workers across industries such as agriculture, construction, food and service, and domestic work and recovered over $10 million in unpaid wages on behalf of our clients.