Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Labor Department sues Rockland and Westchester restaurants and officials to recover back wages, damages for employees
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The U.S. Department of Labor has sued three commonly owned restaurants located in Rockland and Westchester counties, the owner of the companies and two managers for alleged violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The department’s suit was filed following an investigation by its Wage and Hour Division, which found that the defendants denied employees their right to receive the minimum wage and overtime pay, failed to follow proper recordkeeping requirements and discriminated against employees who attempted to exercise their rights under the FLSA.
Defendants named in the suit include Tomnik Food Services Inc., doing business as New City “American Beauty” Diner, 127 Route 304, Bardonia, Rockland County; Tomnik Food Services South Inc., doing business as New City “American Dream” Diner, 512 Route 303 (also listed as 514 Route 303), Orangeburg, Rockland County; Tomnick Food Services North Inc., doing business as New City “American Classic” Diner, 3825 Route 202 (also listed as 3827 Crompond Road), Yorktown Heights, Westchester County; Tom Nikitas Voutsas, owner and president of all three companies; and James Vinieris and Artemesia Vinieris, managers of the companies.
“Cooks, kitchen staff, busboys and wait staff in these restaurants provided their employers with honest labor and should have received at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay,” said Sonia Rybak, assistant district director of the Wage and Hour Division’s White Plains Area Office, which oversaw the investigation. “The Labor Department’s lawsuit puts on notice other employers in Rockland and Westchester counties, as well as all employers of low-wage workers, that the Labor Department will not hesitate to prosecute employers who violate the law and deprive employees of their rightful wages.”
The case was referred to the Labor Department’s regional solicitor’s office in New York City, which filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit asks the court to permanently prohibit the defendants from future violations of the law, order them to pay employees the minimum wage and overtime back wages due, and compensate employees with an equal amount in liquidated damages or prejudgment interest.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as time and one-half their regular hourly rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
The Labor Department is encouraging current and former employees of the three restaurants who worked there between February 2008 and the present to contact the Wage and Hour Division’s White Plains office at 914-682-6348. For more information about the FLSA, call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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