Shipley’s Do-Nuts sprinkled with federal lawsuit

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It’s a case of dollars to donuts.

Houston-area Shipley Do-Nut workers have filed not-so-sweet claims in federal court, accusing the beloved bakery of failing to pay legally required overtime.

Four former Shipley’s employees, including one who started at the company back in 1988, are seeking class action status for the suit filed Wednesday in federal court.

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“All plaintiffs regularly worked over forty hours per week,” the suit alleges. “Shipley’s knew or reasonably should have known that plaintiffs worked in excess of forty hours per workweek.”

The four workers behind the claims were based out of the Shipley’s warehouse and corporate office location on North Main Street. While one was a warehouse employee, two were in housekeeping and a fourth did clerical tasks.

Juan Sanchez, who worked in the warehouse, put in “40-60 hour workweeks with minimal breaks.” But, like his fellow plaintiffs, he claims the company glazed over his compensation, only paying him for 40 hours a week regardless of how much time he put in.

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Elizabeth Peralta, a housekeeper, worked for $9 an hour and was expected to drive her own car to clean other properties and residences owned by Shipley’s. But she was never reimbursed for that expense or the extra hours she worked, driving her hourly wage below the state minimum.

The suit claims that a slew of other Shipley’s employees are in a similar situation, given their work requirements and pay rate.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt employees like Sanchez and Peralta are generally required to get overtime pay equal to time-and-a-half. There are some exceptions, the suit notes, but none would apply to the Shipley’s workers.

“The rule defendants violated is so basic that it could not have been in ‘good faith,’ but must instead have been willful,” the lawsuit says.

The suit – which also names company president and third-generation donut-maker Lawrence W. Shipley, III – dings the Houston-based chain for failure to maintain accurate records, not paying minimum wage and failing to pay overtime.

Shipley’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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