FIRESTONE, Colo. (KDVR) — A lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Labor claims the owners of a Blackjack Pizza franchise retaliated against employees for filing a labor complaint.
The lawsuit was filed against ZdN, Inc., which does business as Blackjack Pizza, and Shawna Bingham, one of the owners and the operator of the franchise location at 8350 Colorado Blvd.
According to the lawsuit, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor began an investigation into Blackjack Pizza after an employee filed a complaint.
In December, WHD investigators met with Bingham to discuss the investigation. During the meeting, Bingham commented several times about terminating the employee she believed filed the complaint, the lawsuit said.
According to court documents, Bingham said this was for reasons unrelated to the investigation.
However, the lead investigator told Bingham that the Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for filing complaints, according to court documents.
Bingham then summoned that employee and her boyfriend, who also worked at Blackjack Pizza, to talk to the investigators. After this, Bingham fired the two employees over text, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that this was to interfere with the investigation and was also intended to “coerce, intimidate and frighten employees” into not talking to or providing truthful information to investigators.
On Friday, a U.S. District judge granted a temporary restraining order against Bingham and the company. This stops them from, among other things, terminating or threatening to terminate any current employees for participating in the investigation.
The order also requires a notice about employee’s rights against retaliation be given to all employees and put up at the business.