Planet Princeton

Rally Against Wage Theft at Princeton 7-Eleven

7-Eleven rally eage theft

The Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund sponsored a rally this morning in front of the 7-Eleven Store on Nassau Street to protest the company’s alleged mistreatment of employees when it comes to wages and worker hours.

Three Princeton residents who are former employees of the store have filed a lawsuit in Mercer County Superior Court against the Princeton 7-Eleven Store, its owners and managers, and the Dallas-based 7-Eleven, Inc., in connection with alleged wage and hour violations.

In the lawsuit, filed by the workers’ attorney, Roger Martindell of Princeton, the plaintiffs claim that they worked at the Princeton 7-Eleven Store since the store first opened in November of 2015, stocking shelves, cleaning, and doing other general store maintenance duties.

They claim they were paid $6 or $6.50 an hour, substantially less than the New Jersey minimum wage of $8.38 per hour.

According to Martindell, the three workers worked as much as 12 hours per day, seven days a week, but were never paid the legally-required overtime rate of pay of one and one-half times their regular hourly wage for hours worked over 40 each week.

Store representative denied violation of those laws and claimed that the workers had signed documents indicating they would not be making claims against the store. Martindell said his clients do not read English and, under the laws, cannot be bound by any document they may have signed in the circumstances.

Maria Juega, executive director of LALDEF, claims that the violation of wage laws is common in Princeton, particularly in restaurant, construction and landscape businesses where immigrants frequently work.

Martindell said that his clients are suing not only on their own behalf, but also as part of a collective action on behalf of all 7-Eleven workers in the central New Jersey markets shared by the Princeton 7-Eleven Store.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • John Heilner

    Not only that, but NJ wage and hour laws explicitly state that employers and employees cannot agree to violate the wage and hour laws. Which include the minimum wage currently $8.37/hour, and the requirement that overtime (more than 40 hours in a seven day period) be paid at time and a half – 150% of the normal rate.

  • Robert Dana

    “Store representative denied violation of those laws and claimed that the workers had signed documents indicating they would not be making claims against the store.”

    I’m no expert on NJ employment law, but would be shocked if one could agree — in writing or otherwise — not to make a claim of this sort against an employer. If that language is in the contract, 7 Eleven may have some 13th Amendment issues.

  • Robert Dana

    I tend to agree with you. For several reasons, the workers should get the lawful wage. But, I don’t think a contrary position is categorically wrong and worthy of scorn. Nor is it necessarily racist.

  • Tap Hat

    Being one of the protesters in this picture, I think it is all misunderstood. Nobody is right and nobody is wrong. People that make money spend money. This includes any “illegal” workforce, for the lack of a better word, and we really need to understand that the flow of money through the economy is hugely impacted by Latinos in the Mercer County area. Racism, language barrier, what have you, this is not acceptable. I work for the charity that sponsored this demonstration and I know firsthand how hard-working the Latino community I serve is, and I’m not going to rest easily until I know that other people recognize their apportions to this society.

  • D14

    Wow. This is where we are?

    I’m not in favor of illegal immigration, sanctuary cities like Princeton where I live, or the employment of people who are not eligible to work here here legally. But anyone employed by an American employer is entitled to the protection of the same wage-hour laws that apply to every worker. And BTW, people don’t have to be citizens to work here legally.

    If this employer hired people who were not legally eligible to work in the U.S. thinking it would be a cinch to exploit them, something that will have to be proved, that’s shameful. The assumption behind your question, however, is equally shameful.

  • Blake Cash

    They are entitled to wage protection regardless of their immigration status.

    The story would be complimented by the presence of corroboration to the claims made by the defendants.

  • Yaj

    doesn’t matter, quit being so self centered and help everyone out, spread the love and stop protecting those cheap indian store owners, they are all the same, too cheap

  • Ddsadsa Casdasd

    Are the workers even legal US citizens? If not, why would they be entitled to this?

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