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News Brief

U.S. Labor Department sues to recover unpaid minimum wage, overtime plus additional damages for Akron restaurant workers

Emidio’s also required a minor to operate dangerous machinery

Type of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit filing

Names of Defendants: Emidio & Sons Inc. and Emidio Piermarini Jr.

Complaint: The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit in federal court to recover back wages and an equal, additional amount in liquidated damages for employees at Emidio’s, an Akron restaurant. The suit also seeks an injunction against the company to prevent future FLSA violations. 

An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined the company and one of its owners, Emidio Piermarini Jr., violated the child labor, minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the FLSA.

Specifically, investigators found the restaurant:

  • Failed to pay employees at least the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour. Instead the firm paid some employees a cash wage ranging from $5 to $7 per hour.
  • Failed to keep legally-required records of hours worked and wages paid. The firm generated a false weekly payroll that did not reflect the hours actually worked or all the employees performing work at the restaurant.
  • Gave some workers paychecks, then directed them to sign the checks and “kickback” the money.
  • Wrongly claimed delivery drivers were independent contractors and paid them no compensation other than the $5 delivery charged assessed to customers.
  • Failed to pay overtime to employees who worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek.

The Wage and Hour Division also assessed civil money penalties of $7,275 for employing a 15 year old minor in violation of child labor laws. The employer illegally required the minor to operate power-driven bakery machines including those used to mix, ball and roll dough. The investigation also found that minor regularly worked until 3 or 4 a.m., for the majority of the period he was underage, in violation of the legal limits to permitted working hours for minors under 16 years old.

Quote: “Putting a child at risk of serious injury on the job is inexcusable,” said George Victory, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Columbus. “Employees in the restaurant industry are already some of the most vulnerable and lowest-paid workers we see – adding a child labor violation to the mix only makes this situation worse. Denying these hard-working restaurant employees their legally-required minimum wage and overtime pay hurts the workers and their families, and gives the employer an unfair competitive advantage over law-abiding employers.  ”

Information: 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 generally provides that employers who violate the law are 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 www.dol.gov/whd/fmla.                                          

Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division

Docket Number: 5:16-cv-00442

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
February 25, 2016
Release Number
16-0305-CHI
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number