A former manager has sued Penny's Coffee, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips and his brother, saying they failed to pay her overtime when she worked more than 40 hours a week.
Mariam Karkache, who managed schedules and inventory, also worked as a barista, making drinks and food. She worked at Penny's now-closed coffee shops in Minneapolis and Wayzata from April 2019 until September 2022, according to the U.S. District Court lawsuit filed last week and first reported by racketmn.com. Phillips is one of the company's owners.
Karkache is seeking overtime pay, unspecified damages and attorney fees. Penny's, Phillips and his brother Jay Phillips have not yet filed a formal response with the court.
In a statement, Penny's called the lawsuit's claim baseless "but if a human or software error was made and overtime pay was not fully issued to an employee, it will be remedied immediately." The statement also said that Phillips left his operational role with the company in 2017 to run for Congress.
The lawsuit claims that as an hourly employee earning between $15 and $20 an hour, Karkache was entitled to time-and-a-half when she worked more than 40 hours a week under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Her attorney, Philip Krzeski, said he didn't yet have the amount that his client is owed. However, the lawsuit included examples of two-week periods in which her weekly hours exceeded 40 as recorded by the store's electronic system for clocking in.
In the examples, Karkache worked a range of overtime from an extra hour to 15 hours in one pay period.
In the statement, Penny's said Dean Phillips and the other former owners of the business takethe accusations seriously.