Papa John’s Pizza franchise owners of Brooklyn, Queens stores settle after being accused of stealing wages from workers

Here’s one topping that authorities say roughly half of the city’s Papa John’s Pizza franchises haven’t been delivering: legal wages. 

Four Papa John’s Pizza franchise owners with nine restaurants in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx have agreed to settle after admitting to stealing their workers’ wages, authorities said Thursday. 

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the U.S. Department of Labor jointly announced the nearly $500,000 in settlements. “Fast food chains across the state should be on notice: we will not stop until your workers are treated with respect and paid lawful wages,” Schneiderman said in a statement. 

Thursday’s announcement brings to 30 the total number of store locations where authorities say they’ve found labor violations have been found. There are over 50 stores in the city, according to the Papa John’s website. 

A spokesman for Papa John’s International, which licenses franchises, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The franchise owners that agreed to settle had stores in the Queens neighborhoods of Woodside, Sunnyside, Astoria, and Flushing; on Westchester Avenue in the Bronx; and on Avenue U and on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn. Some of the stores have been closed or sold. 

Back in July, a Bronx Papa John’s Pizza franchise owner became the first fast food franchisee to be criminally charged by a state attorney general for cheating its workers out of their wages.

Abdul Jamil Khokhar pleaded guilty to several offenses, including a failure to pay wages and was sentenced to 60 days in prison. His attorney at the time said his client had “taken full responsibility and will be making restitution.” 

At the time of Khokhar’s arrest, Papa John’s corporate said the company had a “strong track record of compliance with the law.”