Former Bow Truss employees suing coffee chain, alleging wage theft

From the Chicago Tribune:

by Meg Graham

Former employees of Chicago-based coffee roaster and cafe chain Bow Truss said they have filed a wage theft lawsuit against the company and its management.

The suit, which the group’s attorney said was filed Monday morning in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges the company’s incomplete or late payment of regular and overtime wages. The 10 employees also allege Bow Truss made deductions from wages for tax withholdings and benefits programs — including health and dental insurance and a retirement savings plan — but said those deductions were not put toward those purposes.

The lawsuit names Bow Truss and its founder Phil Tadros. It also names Darren Marshall, Tadros’ business partner, and their digital agency Doejo.

In mid-January, all local locations of Bow Truss shut down as the business struggled to pay employees and rent. The company’s employees said at the time they closed stores and refused to return after many had paychecks bounce. All but two locations — one in the Loop and another in River North — have remained closed.

Two former employees announced the lawsuit Monday morning at a press conference outside Bow Truss’ 406 N. Wells St. location.

“We have friends still who have not been paid, even though the company closed most of its shops a month and a half ago,” former employee Benjamin Creech said.

State Sen. Daniel Biss, Ald. Scott Waguespack, Ald. Ricardo Muñoz and Cook County Board Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia also spoke in support of the Bow Truss employees at the conference.

“We have legislation on the state level to put more teeth in the law, and the process starts when workers are willing to stand up for their rights and fight, the way these workers are doing,” Biss said. “This is an important step to send a message to businesses, to employers, across our region to let them know, they might think that in the past they could get away with behavior like this but that’s not going to happen anymore.”

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