Case: Alberto et al. v. Plaza Sweets, Inc. et al., 17-cv-10048
The employees of Plaza Sweets Bakery in Mamaroneck devoted years of their lives, working long hours under strenuous conditions, to make this large company a successful, global wholesale supplier of baked goods. They were often barely paid minimum wage and were sometimes not paid anything at all for their labor, but their complaints to management and the business owner were always ignored.
In 2017, when certain employees sought medical care they were informed that their group health insurance program, which their employer was legally obligated to offer, had been cancelled due to the company’s failure to make its required contributions. The workers were stunned by this news and the realization that their boss had been stealing “health insurance premiums” from their paychecks long after the insurance had been cancelled. They were also stuck with thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills. Amidst all of this, the workers learned that their boss was planning to shut down the business and they soon lost their jobs.
Then they decided to organize themselves and take action. With the help of HVJC and our community organizing partner Community Resource Center, they took their former boss to federal court and won. By seeking relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the New York Labor Law, HVJC succeeded in recouping the workers’ earned but unpaid wages and full compensation for wrongfully deducted health insurance premiums and health care costs.