Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Community & Society
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Published on September 30, 2023
14 SF Bay Area Subway Restaurants Fined $1M for 'Endangering Minors,' Labor Violations in Napa, Antioch, Concord & BeyondMike Mozart from Funny YouTube, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the owners of 14 Bay Area Subway restaurants to pay nearly $1 million in back wages and damages for various labor violations. These violations included having underage workers use dangerous equipment, assigning minors unlawful work hours, failing to consistently pay wages, issuing numerous bad checks, and illegally retaining tips left by customers. The court demanded that the owners sell or shut down their businesses, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Franchise owners John Michael Meza and Jessica L. Meza operated the restaurants, under franchisor Doctor's Associates LLC. The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division initiated investigations and obtained a preliminary injunction prohibiting the employers from violating child labor laws, threatening and retaliating against workers, and impeding a federal investigation.

On a day late in September, the DOL secured a judgment ordering the Mezas to pay 184 workers $475,000 for minimum wage, overtime, and tips. Additionally, they were ordered to pay $150,000 in penalties.





2777 Lone Tree Way


2620 Lakeville Highway, Unit #320


1026 Oak St., Suite #103


221 North McDowell Blvd.


301 Sun Valley Mall


961 Lakeville Highway


8500 Gravestein Highway, Unit B


13501 San Pablo Ave.

San Pablo

2375 California Blvd.


124-B Calistoga Road

Santa Rosa

3214 Jefferson St.


199 Lincoln Road West, C


902 Enterprise Way, Unit A


6400 Hembree Lane, Unit #100


Joint efforts from the Wage and Hour Division investigators and the Department's Office of the Solicitor held the employers accountable. A DOL news release featured a quote from Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Ruben Rosalez, who recognized young individuals who stood up against exploitation, enabling accountability of these business owners.