DC AG: Employer Hits Janitors With Unfair Fees, Denied Sick Leave

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DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine’s office has filed a lawsuit alleging that a company providing local janitorial services hammered employees with illegal fees and denied workers sick leave.

According to the complaint, Jan-Pro Franchising International, based in Georgia, and its local subsidiary Jan-Pro of Washington, DC, “systematically misclassified” employees as “independent contractors”, depriving workers of all their rights under the District Wages Payment and Collection Act.

“This illegal scheme was a clear bait and switch, which effectively forced the workers to bear the business costs of Jan Pro,” Racine said in a press release. “If a company steals their employees’ hard-earned pay and benefits, my office will hold them accountable.”

The investigation that led to the lawsuit — filed Wednesday in the Civil Division of DC Superior Court — is one of more than 75 conducted since the 2021 establishment of the Workers’ Rights and Anti-Fraud Section, root said. Those cases included investigations into businesses accused of withholding tips, alleged failures to implement coronavirus restrictions and alleged failures to pay minimum wage.

When contacted for comment, Jan-Pro Franchising International’s general counsel said the company had not yet seen the lawsuit and declined to comment. Jan-Pro of Washington, DC also declined to comment at this time.

The lawsuit describes Jan-Pro Franchising International as a “franchise chain” that sells franchises to companies such as Jan-Pro of Washington, D.C., thereby providing them with the “systems necessary to run the business, including the infrastructure billing software, as well as advertisements and contract templates to recruit potential concierges. »

The arrangement, according to the lawsuit, was intended to create “an arm’s length agreement between two corporate bodies.” But the bureau alleged the relationship was “at its core, a varied employment relationship between a janitorial services employer and its janitorial employees.”

These janitors, according to Racine’s office, are misclassified as “independent contractors” when they are actually “employees.” But as such, the company has “imposed a storm of charges” on its janitors who “illegally cut their wages”. These fees imposed on concierges “eat up to 25% of their monthly income,” the complaint states.

Those fees would have included a 5% “management fee”, a 4.5% “business protection plan fee” and a 2% “insurance fee”, according to the complaint. Jan-Pro automatically deducts fees from an employee’s salary. These deductions represent a violation of the law’s requirement that employers pay employees “all wages earned,” the lawsuit alleged.

Janitors were also reportedly hit with fines for performance-related issues. The lawsuit cites a case in which an employee failed to wear a Jan-Pro uniform and failed to take time-stamped before-and-after photos of an area that was cleaned. The resulting fine would have been $75.

The attorney general also alleges other violations of DC labor law.

According to the complaint, Jan-Pro also allegedly failed to provide janitors with “detailed pay stubs showing their hours worked during each pay period.”

The misclassification of Jan-Pro employees also left them without “any paid sick leave,” according to the complaint.

The attorney general’s lawsuit seeks damages and legal penalties, as well as an injunction compelling the company to stop the misclassification.

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