Wage theft. Dishonest franchises. Papa John’s.

Papa John’s is everywhere. Its 4,500 restaurants, most run by franchisees, are in all 50 states and 34 countries. The Louisville Cardinals play their college football in Papa John’s Stadium, while Papa John himself regularly appears in TV ads with his business partner, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. And as the business press has been reporting, CEO “Papa” John Schnatter is making his pizza’s “quality” the focus of his company’s marketing:

“We are finding ways to more effectively communicate our commitment to using the best quality ingredients. That has always been part of what distinguishes Papa John’s from the rest.”

But more and more, what apparently distinguishes Papa John’s from its competitors is cheating its workers. The company revealed its latest episode of wage theft during its second quarter results that showed net income was down to $10.8 million from $16.7 million a year ago:

In the

quarter, the Company recorded a pre-tax expense of $12.3 million for a preliminary legal settlement, subject to court approval (“Legal Settlement”). This collective and class action, Perrin v. Papa John’s International, Inc. and Papa John’s USA, Inc. which included approximately 19,000 drivers, alleged delivery drivers were not reimbursed in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The Company continues to deny any liability or wrongdoing in this matter.

The plaintiffs, led by former pizza driver William Perrin of St. Louis, charged that Papa John’s engaged in “a corrupt scheme in which drivers ‘kicked back’ money to the company by receiving lower reimbursements for the use of their vehicles to deliver pizzas.” The result, as the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting (KYCIR) explained, was that delivery workers were often paid far less than the minimum wage.

Head below the fold for more of Papa John’s questionable tactics.

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