The New Jersey Department of Labor recently completed a strategic enforcement initiative involving the retail laundromat industry. Department of Labor investigators visited 20 retail laundromat locations owned by nine employers in New Jersey. Investigators determined that more than $56,000 in wages are owed to the primarily low-wage employees, and many workers are not receiving the earned sick leave they lawfully accrued.
Department of Labor Investigators interviewed dozens of employees and employers and reviewed thousands of documents. Based on their findings, the New Jersey Department of Labor cited laundromats for failing to pay employees the state minimum wage; failing to pay employees time and a half their regular pay rate for hours worked over 40 hours in a week; illegally misclassifying employees as independent contractors; and failing to comply with the state’s earned sick leave law. In addition to back wages, $143,000 in penalties and fees were assessed to employers.
“I’ve worked in laundromats for 16 years. Laundromats are prone to wage theft, and it comes in many forms,” says Gaudencia Ramirez. “I’m excited and applaud the New Jersey Department of Labor for enforcing the law and investigating the laundromat industry and bad employers. This gives workers more security to file complaints and demand better conditions, which would make a difference in our lives.” Retail laundromats predominantly employ immigrant workers who might not be fully aware of their labor rights or are more fearful of retaliation.
If you believe you are victim of wage theft, please contact the attorneys at Pechman Law Group at 212-583-9500. We have recovered over 20 million dollars on behalf of workers who have been cheated out of their overtime or have been subjected to other unlawful pay practices.