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Ex-Paramus Worker Says Shake Shack Let 'Visibly Sick' Employees Handle Food

A former Shake Shack Paramus employee has filed a lawsuit against the company.
A former Shake Shack Paramus employee has filed a lawsuit against the company. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

PARAMUS, N.J. — A former Shake Shack employee who worked at the Paramus location has filed a federal lawsuit against the burger joint, particularly its Fulton Transit location in Brooklyn, New York.

Derrick Via, who worked as a trainer at the Paramus location in November 2013 and September 2016, says his bosses in New York City ignored safety hazards, allowing visibly sick employees to handle food, the suit says.

The allegations made are in reference to a single location.

"Shake Shack maintains industry-leading food handling and workplace safety procedures," a company spokesperson told Daily Voice.

"Our first priority is always to ensure the wellbeing of our guests and our employees. The lawsuit in question is without merit."

Via said his New York City bosses at the Brooklyn location not only brushed his complaints aside but retaliated against him and ultimately terminated his employment.

He began working at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park as a line cook in March 2012, where he received several raises and performed his job duties well, according to the suit.

He moved to different stores from 2012 to 2016, helping to open new ones and train staff members, the suit says.

"Mr. Via had extensive experience opening and operating Shake Shack locations, and was well aware of the necessary health and safety policies," the suit says.

He began noticing problems while working at the Fulton Transit location, both with the store itself and his manager, Jason Daniels, according to the lawsuit.

Via noted a number of serious and dangerous health and safety violations a the FT location, which according to the lawsuit include:

  • Shake Shack’s failure to provide employees at the location with any training on food allergies or preparing food for customers with allergies
  • Shake Shack’s ongoing policy of allowing visibly sick workers to remain on the job, handling and preparing food for customers
  • Shake Shack’s improper cleaning of the location’s kitchen and equipment
  • Shake Shack’s failure to properly investigate and respond to an incident where a location employee was scalded by hot water and suffered serious burns

"Mr. Via was a long-tenured employee who had been trusted with the opening and operation of some of Shake Shack’s premiere locations," the suit says, citing his scheduled trip to Japan for training ahead of another promotion.

"Mr. Via had excellent working relationships with both his superiors and subordinates in the company.

"Despite all this, Mr. Via’s career at Shake Shack was undone when he began registering complaints with management."

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