Pret A Manger is a UK-based fast food chain with locations in New York. The restaurant sells organic coffee, sandwiches, salads, soups, and other lunch items.
Pret's U.S. website highlights the company's charity work. But its treatment of employees is being questioned, as workers have filed a class action lawsuit alleging that the company has made a practice of time shaving - a violation of U.S. labor laws.
What is time shaving?
Time shaving is the practice of deducting time from the hours an employee actually worked. An employer may "shave off" a few minutes here and there from employee time cards. The company may argue that employees should not be compensated for time on site changing into a uniform, for example.
Since many companies have computerized time keeping systems in place, time shaving can often go unnoticed by employees. Employers may engage in time shaving to save the company money and, over time, the amount of time "shaved off" can be significant.
Time shaving is illegal. Employers that engage in this practice can be held accountable and face serious penalties.
Pret has been ordered to pay about $875,000 to settle unpaid compensation claims. This is not the first time Pret has been the target of lawsuits. In 2014, it faced a similar lawsuit from employees who were not paid full wages and tips. More than 4,000 employees were members of the class action lawsuit.
What should employees do?
It is important to remember that time shaving is illegal. Employers are required by law to pay employees for all time worked. However, unscrupulous employers may engage in all sorts of behaviors to protect their bottom line - while undermining the rights of their employees.
If you believe your employer has been altering your time cards, you should consider talking to an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible.