Setting up several different corporations to run related enterprises won’t insulate the businesses from liability for wage-and-hour claims if the interrelationship is close.
Recent case: Angel and several other restaurant delivery workers sued nine corporations over unpaid overtime. The restaurants offered Peruvian cuisine across New York City. Although each restaurant was operated under a different corporate name, they all shared a website, email address and menu. One individual told the delivery workers where to go and when to work.
The lawsuit against the corporations alleged that none of the delivery workers made minimum wage. Some were paid just $120 per week, despite working more than 40 hours.
The defendant corporations claimed they were not a joint employer, but the court disagreed. They can all be held liable. (Lopez v. Pio Pio New York, et al., No. 13 CV 4490, SD NY, 2014)