Combating Fraud that Obfuscates Workplace Rights: Mark v. O.P.E.N. America, Inc. d/b/a OPENWORKS
Towards Justice represents Ruth Mark and a proposed class of cleaning workers employed by OpenWorks. OpenWorks is a cleaning company, but it claims not to employ cleaners. Instead, it requires its workers—many of whom are recent immigrants to the United States—to incorporate into separate LLCs and enter into franchise agreements under which they purportedly operate as independent companies. OpenWorks’s misclassification of its employees not only allows OpenWorks to skirt state and federal labor and employment laws. It also allows it to charge its workers predatory franchise fees and other costs, many of which it finances for its workers, thus indenturing them to OpenWorks with extraordinary debt that often exceeds what OpenWorks’s workers are able to earn through their work. OpenWorks recruits its workers with the false promise that they will own a successful and independent business. Towards Justice’s clients assert fraud and misclassification claims against OpenWorks.