Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Restaurants in New Haven, Middletown, Milford and Waterbury, Conn., agree to pay more than $318,000 in back wages to 53 workers
US Labor Department assesses more than $53,000 in fines for child labor, repeated wage and record-keeping violations
HARTFORD, Conn. -- A group of four Connecticut restaurants and its owners have agreed to pay 53 workers a total of $318,561 in back wages, plus interest, to resolve a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to the terms of the consent judgment, which was filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, the defendants will pay the total amount of back wages found due by the Labor Department as well as $53,680 in penalties assessed for violations of the FLSA's minimum wage, overtime, record-keeping and child labor provisions.
An investigation by the Hartford District Office of the department's Wage and Hour Division found that the G.D. Diner of New Haven Inc., Athenian Diner of Middletown Inc., Athenian Diner of Milford LLC and Athenian Diner of Waterbury LLC violated the FLSA by paying kitchen employees fixed weekly salaries for all hours worked, without regard to overtime premium pay due for hours beyond 40 per workweek. The restaurants also did not keep accurate records of hours worked by employees.
In addition, the investigation found that a 17-year-old dishwasher at the Middletown restaurant operated a meat slicer and another 17-year-old dishwasher operated a meat chopper. Federal child labor provisions prohibit the operation of power-driven meat and poultry processing machines by workers under 18.
"Our investigation found cooks, chefs, prep chefs, dishwashers and busboys working between 50 and 66 hours per week without receiving the overtime pay to which they are entitled," said Neil Patrick, the division's district director in Hartford. "When employers do not pay their workers correctly, they are also hurting those businesses that do pay their employees properly. No one should derive an advantage by skirting the law, especially by putting young workers at risk. The Department of Labor will use every enforcement tool necessary to bring violators to justice. Other restaurant industry employers should take notice of this case and ensure that they are paying their employees in compliance with the FLSA, as well as keeping their young workers safe."
The case was litigated by the Labor Department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in Boston.
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 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.
Additionally, the FLSA establishes a minimum age of 18 for workers in those nonagricultural occupations that the secretary of labor finds and declares to be particularly hazardous for 16- and 17-year-old workers, or detrimental to their health or well-being. A list of prohibited hazardous occupations is available on the Wage and Hour Division's website at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/haznonag.asp. Additional information on child labor rules can be found at http://www.youthrules.dol.gov.
For more information about the FLSA, contact the Wage and Hour Division's Hartford office at 860-240-4160, its New Haven office at 203-773-2249 or the 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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