Why Employees Say This Subway Boss Owes Them $38 Million

In the latest news from the world of Subway, nearly 3,000 workers have accused a regional manager of withholding $38 million in wages. In a New York Post report, a lawsuit accuses the man, Chirayu Patel, who owns franchises in California, of failing to pay his employees overtime, and for many of the hours actually worked. He also reportedly refused to grant meal and rest breaks. Faced with this charge, Patel claimed he could not pay out the demanded wages. However, he could pay the $550,000 settlement they reached in July, which gave each worker $188.

Although some might assume that Subway HQ would step in, that didn't happen in this case. And, as a lawyer representing the company's franchisees explained, "The overarching message at Subway is anything goes." Unfortunately, the fast food company has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons this month. As you may recall, just eleven days ago, a worker was suspended because the franchisee was worried about how corporate would react to a video of her fighting off an armed robber at her store.

He's *that* Chirayu Patel

The name Chirayu Patel may strike a familiar chord with those who have followed Subway's media presence in recent years. He is the same Patel who abused the fact that he was both a franchisee and a development agent. In 2019, The New York Times revealed how Patel invited all the franchisees under his supervision to a meeting where he informed them that because the financial requirements for owning a Subway were so low, there were too many. 

According to what Patel told his fellow franchisees, HQ wanted to focus on the strongest, with the weaker ones set to close. To determine which stores would survive, Patel hired inspectors who marked violations like fingerprints present on window panes or a defunct light bulb. Once these minor infractions reached a certain number, the store closed. As you might imagine, none of Patel's stores closed. "That was the problem: He was a franchisee and a development agent," Effie Lennox, a former inspector who worked for Patel, admitted.