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News Release

Five Long Island restaurants ordered to pay more than $980,000 to resolve U.S. Labor Department lawsuits alleging federal wage and hour law violations

WESTBURY, N.Y.Five commonly operated restaurants located throughout Long Island, N.Y., and seven officers of the companies have been ordered to pay 192 employees a total of $966,046 in overtime back wages, and to pay the U.S. Department of Labor civil money penalties totaling $14,773 to resolve lawsuits filed by the department alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

"The department has made an intensive effort to protect low wage workers who may not know their legal rights under the federal labor laws," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "In this case, we have secured nearly $1 million for 192 workers who were not being paid all the wages they had earned."

An investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division district office in Westbury revealed that low wage employees of the restaurants were required to work many hours while being paid less than the federal minimum wage, and were required to work more than 40 hours during many workweeks without being properly compensated for overtime. The investigation also documented violations of the FLSA's recordkeeping requirements.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage as well as one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The law also requires that accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

Named as defendants in five separate suits filed by the department in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York were: Ital Pizza Corp. of Merrick, N.Y.; Mister Gold Inc. of Plainview, N.Y.; Millennium Foods Ltd. of Westbury, N.Y.; Tremezzo LLC of East Meadow, N.Y. and Nocera Restaurant Inc. of New Hyde Park, N.Y. Also named were officers Anthony Branchinelli, Louis Branchinelli, Michael D'Abruzzo, Mauro Gallo, Fortunato Nicotra, Marco Nicotra and Franco Giambanco.

While neither admitting nor denying the allegations, the defendants agreed to the entry of consent judgments that prohibit them from future violations of the FLSA's minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping provisions. The court orders also prohibit the defendants from taking retaliatory action against any employees who exercise their rights under the law.

Additionally, the defendants are ordered to pay the $966,046 in back wages as follows: Ital Pizza Corp.- $164,810 due 34 employees; Mister Gold Inc. - $243,561 due 50 employees; Millennium Foods - $204,812 due 35 employees; Nocera Restaurant Inc. - $199,253 due 44 employees; and Tremezzo LLC - $153,610 due 29 employees.

If the defendants fail to make any payments, the court will appoint a receiver with power to seize and liquidate the defendants' assets to satisfy the back wage payment order. The defendants must orally advise employees, in English and Spanish, of their rights under the FLSA, the terms of the judgments and their right to engage in protected activities without fear of retaliation. Official posters must also be placed where all employees may view them.

For more information about the FLSA, call the Labor Department's toll-free helpline at (866) 4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at and through an "e-laws advisor" at


Chao v. Ital Pizza Corp. et al - Civil Action Number: 07-CV-02347-TCP-ETB; Chao v. Mister Gold Inc. et al - Civil Action Number: 07-CV-02278-DRH-WDW; Chao v. Millennium Foods Ltd. et al - Civil Action Number: 07-CV-02276-TCP-MLO; Chao v. Tremezzo LLC et al; Civil Action Number: 07-CV-02321-SLT-RML; Chao v. Nocera Restaurant Inc. et al - Civil Action Number: 07-CV-02346-LDW-MLO

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employment Standards Administration
August 7, 2007