Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
US Labor Department secures contempt judgment against well-known Long Island, NY, catering establishment and officers
Chateau Briand repeatedly failed to pay minimum wage, overtime to employees
NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent order requiring the payment of $278,000 in back wages, interest and costs by DVAA Carle Place Restaurant Inc., doing business as Chateau Briand. The order also finds the catering hall and its executives in contempt of a 2005 court order enjoining them from violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
The order resolves a motion for contempt filed by the department following an investigation by its Wage and Hour Division, which found that the catering hall had again violated the FLSA, after previously agreeing to comply with the law. The defendants failed to pay minimum wages and overtime compensation to kitchen employees—dishwashers, prep cooks and cooks—by underreporting the number of work hours worked by employees each workweek and paying weekly salaries to some nonexempt employees for all hours worked. Additionally, Chateau Briand did not keep accurate time and payroll records for these kitchen employees.
The consent order, approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, acknowledges that the following parties are in contempt of court for not complying with a previous order by this federal court to not violate the FLSA: DVVA Carle Place Restaurant Inc., doing business as Chateau Briand, located at 440 Old Country Road, Carle Place, as well as company officers Anthony Scotto, Victor Scotto and Domenico Tallarico.
“We used all of our available tools and resources to pursue a repeat offender who has not maintained compliance despite a prior consent judgment,” said Irv Miljoner, district director of the Wage Hour Division’s Long Island District Office. “The resolution of this case sends a strong message to Long Island’s restaurant and catering industry that we will vigorously pursue contempt charges against companies, such as Chateau Briand, that repeatedly and willfully break the law without regard for the rights of workers. We also aim to level the competitive playing field for employers who are in compliance.”
The order prohibits the defendants from future FLSA violations. The defendants are also prohibited from discharging or retaliating against any employee who discloses or threatens to disclose possible FLSA violations, cooperates with an investigation into possible FLSA violations, or refuses to participate in any activity that the employee believes is in violation of the FLSA.
The defendants are ordered to pay $230,000 in back wages and $23,000 in prejudgment interest to 88 employees, and must also pay the department $25,000 for the costs incurred in investigating this matter and bringing the action to enforce the consent judgment.
In addition, the defendants must retain, at their own expense, an independent monitor to ensure FLSA compliance and train employees on their rights under the act. The monitor will have the freedom to conduct workplace inspections and interview workers and will provide the Wage and Hour Division with regular reports. If the defendants fail to correct any future violations of the FLSA, they could be fined up to $200 per day.
The case was litigated by the department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York City.
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. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.
For more information about the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division’s Long Island District Office in Westbury at 516-338-1890 or call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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