The Taco Truck Sued By Ex-Employee

(credit: NYSF)

If you ever thought working on a food truck was glamorous, you might want to read the lawsuit filed by Jonathan Velazquez, a former employee of The Taco Truck.

As reported by “Velazquez filed a proposed collective action against the business alleging he logged upwards of 70 hours per week without being paid overtime, according to court records. Velazquez filed the suit Oct.14 in New Jersey federal court, which names the Taco Truck, CEO Jason Scott and COO Chris Viola.

The most recent court filings indicate that the restaurant has until Dec. 23 to file a response to the complaint.

Velazquez alleges in the suit that he routinely worked six days a week for 70 to 80 hours without being properly paid for the overtime hours, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law. Sometimes Velazquez had to sleep in the restaurant’s food truck because he worked too many hours, his attorney, Andrew Glenn, said Monday.

According to the complaint, he worked as a salaried cashier, driver and cook from February 2013 to September 2013. Velazquez made roughly $615 a week, Glenn said.

CEO Jason Scott said that Velazquez was fired after a series of breaches of company policy. Glenn said that his client believes that he was wrongfully terminated for complaining he needed to sleep in the company’s truck because he worked so many hours.

In a statement, Scott and Viola said that Taco Truck complies with state and federal wage and hour laws. They also said that the company sets high standards for employee policies and gauges Taco Truck’s success through “happy and loyal” customers and employees.

“We find it regrettable that one former manager has decided to file a lawsuit against our company,” they said in a statement. “We dispute his claims, which we believe have no merit.”

They declined to comment further, as the lawsuit is ongoing.

Taco Truck opened its first store in Hoboken in 2010. The business started out in 2009 as a food truck selling Mexican cuisine in New Jersey, according to its website. Now Taco Truck has another store in Morristown, trucks in New Jersey and Boston and a kiosk at New York City’s High Line.

The business faces a proposed collective action, which allows individuals with similar experiences to Velazquez to opt-in to the lawsuit. In class actions, potential class members must opt-out of the lawsuit to not be bound by its resolution.

Glenn said that it is not yet clear how many workers will sign on to the lawsuit, but that he believes that several other employees were cheated by the company in the same manner Velazquez alleges.

“I’m not sure how deep these violations go,” he said. “It seems to me that they’re treating their employees the same way.”

Velazquez’s seeks compensation for the unpaid overtime hours, attorneys’ fees and other damages. The complaint didn’t indicate how much Taco Truck could potentially owe Velazquez.”

Back to NYSF – Only the parties involved know exactly what the facts are. We have no idea whether the allegations are legitimate or not. Either way, this serves as a good reminder to treat your employees fairly, as you would like to be treated.

cochinita pibil taco
TTT’s Cochinita Pibil Tacos (credit: NYSF)