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Manhattan pizza chain ordered to pay $175K to employees after not providing adequate salary: AG

New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, speaks during a news conference in New York City
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Following an investigation, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that she has recovered $175,000 for employees of Gotham Pizza who were cheated out of their pay. 

Gotham Pizza currently has three locations: 1443 York Avenue (Upper East Side), 1667 First Avenue (Yorkville), and 144 Ninth Avenue (Chelsea). According to Attorney General James’ investigation, for three years Gotham Pizza and its owner Michael Shamailov knowingly and intentionally failed to pay at least ten employees proper minimum wage, overtime pay, and tips at its three locations in Manhattan.

“No matter how you slice it, fair pay is not a suggestion — it’s the law,” said Attorney General James. “For years, Gotham Pizza took advantage of its hard-working employees by failing to pay them for their work. I am proud to recover the money they have long been owed and cheated, and I will always fight to ensure New Yorkers get their fair piece of the pie.”

According to the investigation, between 2016 and 2019, at least ten employees at Gotham Pizza were paid under minimum wage, between $6 to $10 per hour when they should have been paid $11 to $15. Additionally, the employees were never paid any overtime after working more than 40 hours per week and did not receive full tips. 

According to Attorney General James’ office, Gotham Pizza’s actions violated the Minimum Wage Order and New York labor laws, which require all employers to pay covered employees the applicable minimum wage and any legally required overtime rate for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. As a result, Gotham Pizza is required to pay $175,000 to the ten workers and must provide the Attorney General’s office with compliance reports containing payroll information for its employee to ensure their cooperation with the law.

The Attorney General’s office will also conduct spot interviews with Gotham Pizza workers to confirm that the proper wages are paid consistently and on time. Should Gotham Pizza fail to comply, the Attorney General’s office reserves the right to bring a civil action.

“As the former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, I made it a priority to protect our city’s workers,” said New York City Council Member Julie Menin. “This is intolerable that Gotham Pizza has violated worker-protection laws and paid below the minimum wage. I applaud Attorney General Letitia James for being proactive in pursuing businesses that are conducting wage theft and exploitation of its workers.”

“While making sure others ate, these workers had food stolen from their own table,” said New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher. “Fortunately for all New Yorkers, we have Attorney General James making sure that wage theft and worker exploitation does not go unpunished. I’m grateful to her and everyone at the Office of the Attorney General, especially the Labor Bureau, for their incredible work on behalf of our state.”

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