Charles W. Howard of New York City might lose his dominance in the porta-potty industry.
Howard’s company, Call-a-Head, was one of the first porta-potty companies, and in many ways defined the business. It currently makes more than $35 million in annual revenue, thanks to its chunk of the New York porta-potty market. Now more than 1,300 former pump drivers, the guys who clean those portable toilets nightly, have filed a class-action lawsuit against Howard, a lawsuit that could potentially put him out of business.
Howard’s story, which includes adultery, arson, and sexy sales girls with salaries topping $150,000 was told in a recent New York Magazine story.
The pump drivers suing Howard claim that Howard refused to pay them for worked overtime.
Call-a-Head currently has a 2.7-star satisfaction rating on Glassdoor from its previous employees. Many employee complaints cite a “rude owner” and “poorly maintained” trucks, amongst other concerns. Many Glassdoor reviews also mention consistently working 50-60 hour weeks, while only being paid for a flat 40 hours.
Howard, who has historically settled lawsuits against him, has decided to fight the drivers’ suit. If he loses, the damages owed to the drivers could be in the tens of millions of dollars, enough to put Call-a-Head, a company started in the ’70s by his father, out of business.
Complaints about Howard’s labor practices date back to 2009.