Homegrown juice company Turning Natural is being sued by the city for violating D.C.’s wage, overtime, and sick leave laws, just as it’s about to open two more shops in high-profile locations.
A new lawsuit flowing out of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) alleges Jerri Evans, owner of the expansion-minded cafe, failed to pay workers the legal minimum wage since 2015. The suit, filed in D.C. Superior Court’s civil division, also says some employees were denied paid sick leave benefits and overtime.
The juice bar, which has three area locations, is coming soon to MGM National Harbor and Shaw.
Evans hopped on the detox trend back in 2014, planting her first store in Forestville. She’s since expanded the vegan operation to Anacostia (where she grew up), followed by another in Atlas District. Her veggie-focused juice bars sell cleanse plans and elixirs carrying racy names like “Green Latifah” and the “Just Blaze,” with healthy bites like açaí bowls and black bean burgers on flaxseed. Turning Natural employs more than a dozen smoothie-making employees, several of whom were named in the suit.
D.C.’s minimum wage edges up on an annual basis and currently stands at $13.25 per hour (as of this month). In the suit, named employees were paid hourly wages $1 below what was legal.
“We’re suing to get hard-working District workers the pay and benefits they earned, and to send a message to employers that steal wages from their employees,” writes attorney general Karl Racine.
Racine’s office is seeking monetary and injunctive relief for affected employees, and to recover penalties to the city.
Eater has reached out to Turning Natural for a request for comment.