Back in 2001, we gave Pio Pio a shout-out for serving the East Side’s best rotisserie chicken, noting it was “densely matted with spices” and altogether “superb.” Sadly, it looks like the same can’t be said of the way the Peruvian chain treats its workers: Crain’s reports that nine of its former employees are suing the chain for alleged labor law violations. And this isn’t the first time Pio Pio’s owner, Augusto Yallico, has run into trouble with the law: he was previously sued by the Department of Labor over charges of failing to pay minimum wage and overtime, and for his inability to follow record keeping laws. That lawsuit was settled by a $287,713 payment to the department.
The new lawsuit charges that six of Pio Pio’s eight locations throughout Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx cheated workers out of their full tip earnings, used the tip pool to pay non-tipped workers, and docked wages when workers accidentally broke plates and glasses. Unsurprisingly, the suit also claims overtime and minimum wage mischief. If it’s successful, Pio Pio may end up being as cooked as its signature birds.