Call For Action update: Denny's employees again claim not being paid

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - UPDATE (5/11/17): In a Call for Action investigation, 11 News has been following the story about how some employees at local Denny's restaurants across southern Colorado are not getting paid. They say when they do get paid, their checks often bounce. Thursday 11 News learned several of those employees once again, have still not been paid.

There are eight locations all franchised by the same man. When 11 News spoke with him a few weeks ago, he said there was an issue with his payroll company and this wouldn't happen again.

"You try to teach your kids you work hard you'll get ahead. You put in a good days work for a good days pay. What they're doing to them morally is completely wrong,” William, the family member of Denny’s employees said.

William has three family members who work for Denny's, including his 19-year-old son Samson.

"They come home and say I'm going to get fired if I say anything, well it’s very sad for them to feel that way when they aren't even getting paid,” William said.

"It makes me feel like my hard work is unappreciated and unwanted and I'm going to put hard work into something I'm not going to get anything out of,” Samson said.

After 11 News’ story aired two weeks ago, employees say they were finally paid, but it was three days late. The restaurant owner said the problem would be solved with his payroll company.

"I was told this time we'd have a new payroll company, the checks were coming in the mail, everything would be on a pay stub, and everything will be recorded. But the day we got paid I got a call from my manager saying we don't have the money to pay you,” Samson said.

"What I'd like to see is these employees treated right and paid for what they're doing here and somebody standing up for the right thing,” William said.

Employees tell 11 News some of them were paid cash out of the register this week.

11 News reached out to the owner again Thursday and haven't heard back. 11 News also reached out to Denny’s corporate offices.

The Colorado Department of Labor's advice for anyone who isn't getting paid, is to file a wage claim online or over the phone with them so they can investigate further.

Click here for a link to the complaint forms.

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PREVIOUS (4/27/17): An 11 Call for Action investigation revealed major issues with some Denny's franchise restaurants in southern Colorado.

Employees said they are not being paid on time, and if they are paid, they claimed the checks bounced.

"It feels like slave labor basically, because that's what we're doing, working for free,” one Denny’s employee said.

The owner told 11 News there are issues with the payroll company they’re using. He said he just terminated their contract a few days ago.
However, he would not provide 11 News the name of the payroll company, so we could not verify that information.

Abe Imani, the owner, took over eight different stores in June in Colorado Springs, Fountain, Pueblo, Woodland Park and Burlington.

Another employee who reached out to 11 News said since the Imani took over, employees at her store haven't gotten a paycheck on time.

"It's frustrating because most of their employees work paycheck to paycheck. So if we can't depend on our paycheck, what are we supposed to depend on?,” the Denny’s employee said.

Fidel Arellano was recently an assistant manager at the Pueblo Denny's, until he quit last week.

When Arellano went to the bank to cash one paycheck, the bank said the check couldn't be cashed. So Arellano says he called the owner.

"He says, 'Listen I'm so sorry, is there any way you can wait until tomorrow?' and I said, 'No I really want my money. I provided a service for you. I need my money,'” Arellano said.

Arellano filed a claim with the Colorado Department of Labor for his unpaid wages.

"I have bills, people have families. How are you going to run a business like this?,” Arellano told 11 News.

The owner said Wednesday that everyone would be paid, but employees were still waiting for those checks as of Thursday night. 11 News tried to contact the owner Thursday afternoon, but his phone went to voice mail.