San Francisco, California – A resounding verdict from a federal court has ordered the proprietors of 14 Subway outlets across the Bay Area to pay a hefty sum nearing $1 million in back pay and damages to their employees. The court has mandated the owners to either shutter their businesses or sell them, ensuring that any profits from such sales are remitted to the Department of Labor.
The probe led by federal investigators unearthed that the franchise owners, John and Jessica Meza from Brentwood, engaged in numerous labor infringements. This included having children as young as 14 operate perilous machinery, scheduling minors beyond legally allowed hours, and frequent irregularities in employee payments. The Mezas’ list of violations extended to issuing numerous bounced checks and unethically retaining tips intended for their staff.
Further allegations from the Labor Department implied that the Mezas, along with their associate Hamza Ayesh, attempted to suppress employees from assisting in the investigation. One such instance highlighted Ayesh purportedly intimidating an employee over grievances regarding a bounced check.
Although the Mezas, through their attorney Arkady Itkin, did not concede to threats or coercion, they acknowledged other offenses like distributing bad checks and infringing certain labor norms. Discussing Ayesh’s alleged threats, Itkin described it as a “he said, she said situation,” which Ayesh opted to settle.
Addressing the hefty settlement for the Subway labor violations, Itkin expressed skepticism over the Mezas’ capability to pay the vast sum, stating, “The settlement agreement might make it look like they’re just going to cough up a million dollars. It’s not going to happen.”
The implicated Subway outlets are dispersed across Antioch, Clayton, Concord, San Pablo, Petaluma, Cotati, Napa, Santa Rosa, Windsor, and Vallejo.
If you’ve experienced workplace violations or need legal consultation, contact the California employment attorneys at Labor Law Advocates for specialized advice and representation. Call us for a free and confidential case review.