Former Baja Fresh employees in Las Vegas look to sue - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Former Baja Fresh employees in Las Vegas look to sue

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Baja fresh shut down stores in Las Vegas in July of 2017. (FOX5) Baja fresh shut down stores in Las Vegas in July of 2017. (FOX5)

Dozens of former Baja Fresh employees from across the Valley said they showed up to work in June and found the doors to their stores locked, with eviction notices on the doors. 

"How you gonna make a business and not tell people in advanced you're closing down and not have them paid?" former employee Analee Perez said. She worked at the Texas Station Baja Fresh and was one of many employees who met with lawyers Wednesday morning to discuss taking legal action against their former boss. 

"They are out of business, and about 50 employees out here and their families are concerned," Matthew Callister, an attorney with Callister and Associates said. 

Callister said Baja Fresh franchise owner Malik Muhammad Asif closed down his eight valley locations and filed for bankruptcy in California. Still Callister hoped by filing a notion of non-dischargability Asif will have to pay his former employees the hundreds of dollars they said he owed them. 

"How am I gonna pay for my rent if they haven't given me the money that I need?" Perez said. 

Perez was one of multiple former employees how said he had multiple money issues with Asif's franchises throughout their time working for him. 

They said those issues included late checks, bounced checks, and not being paid for all the hours worked, but money issues weren't where their concerns ended. 

"We would run out of chicken and a co-worker would have to go to the store and buy chicken from the register," former employee Elvis Ruiz said. Ruiz worked at three Baja Fresh locations throughout the valley. He said working conditions were often poor. 

His former co-worker Michelle Martinez agreed. 

 "I had told the owner 'Can you help us out? Can you bring us air? It's so hot in here.' And he didn't care. He said 'Keep working. If you don't like it than leave, get out of Baja,'" she said. 

Martinez also said stores some were closed down by the health inspector. 

"Everything was disgusting there, there was cockroaches coming out of the sinks, underneath the toilet and everything," Martinez said.   

Asif's lawyer did not respond to interview requests. Baja Fresh corporate did provide the following statement via email. 

" Although we never like to see any stores close, the decision to close a store is that of an individual franchisee, who is an independent business owner.  it is unfortunate to hear some of these franchisees' employees are experiencing negative consequences resulting from these circumstances. Moving forward, we encourage any of the employees who have been impacted to reach out to our corporate office with their concerns – (480) 362-4023. " 

Disgruntled employees said the only thing they want to move forward with is a lawsuit if their wages aren't paid. 

"It disgusts me that people exist like that in the world, that you abuse people like that, you should just pay us, that's all were asking," Martinez said. 

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