Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Department of Labor files suit against Lombard, Ill., restaurant for more than $145,000 in back wages and damages for 9 workers
Omega Restaurant Ltd. and owner, James Chiampas, failed to pay minimum wage, overtime
CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit against Omega Restaurant Ltd. and its owner, James Chiampas, seeking $145,000 in unpaid wages and liquidated damages for nine employees. An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions at the restaurant.
“Failure to pay legally required minimum wage and overtime deprives workers and their families of money for daily living expenses,” said Thomas Gauza, district director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Chicago District Office. “The restaurant industry employs some of our country’s lowest paid workers, who are vulnerable to exploitation. We will continue our effort to promote awareness and compliance in this industry.”
The complaint alleges that members of Omega’s kitchen staff were paid a straight salary for all hours worked, which did not provide the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour to several employees. They were not compensated at one and one-half times their regular rates of pay, which must be at least minimum wage, for their hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. The company failed to keep legally required complete and accurate records of all hours worked by members of its kitchen staff. In addition to back wages, the suit seeks an equal amount in liquidated damages, and a court order permanently enjoining Omega Restaurant Ltd. and James Chiampas from violating the FLSA in the future.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees. Additionally, the law requires employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records, and prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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