News Release

Fairfield Restaurant to Pay $247,922 in Wages, Damages and Penalties for Overtime, Minimum Wage, and Recordkeeping Violations

HARTFORD, CT – The U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut has entered a consent judgment and ordered a Fairfield restaurant and its owner to pay $244,930 in back wages and liquidated damages to eight employees, as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Division investigators found that Vinny’s of Fairfield Inc. – which does business as Vinny’s Ale House – and owner Ernst H. Buggisch failed to pay required overtime to back-of-the-house employees when they worked more than 40 hours per week. In the settlement, the company also agreed to pay $2,992 in penalties for violations of the overtime, minimum wage and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The investigation determined that the employer paid the employees overtime at straight time rates, in cash, instead of time-and-one-half their regular pay rates as the law requires. The employer also failed to maintain accurate time records, failed to produce records of the cash payments, maintained two sets of time records, and provided inaccurate records to investigators. In addition, the employer intimidated employees during the investigation, coaching them to lie to investigators. The settlement prohibits the defendants from future FLSA wage, recordkeeping, and retaliation violations.

“This settlement is about getting these employees the wages they legally earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director David Gerrain. “The Division encourages all employers to access the many compliance resources we offer, and avoid the liabilities that can come with breaking the law.”

“Businesses that violate the law gain a competitive advantage over law-abiding employers,” said the Department’s Regional Solicitor Michael Felsen, in Boston. “We will vigorously enforce the law to level the playing field for companies that play by the rules and to safeguard employees’ hard-earned wages.”

The Division’s Hartford District Office conducted the investigation and Wage and Hour Counsel Merle D. Hyman of the Department’s regional Office of the Solicitor litigated the case.

Employees and employers with questions about the FLSA or any of the federal wage laws administered by the Division should call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). All calls are confidential. More information is available online at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.

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Acosta v. Vinny’s of Fairfield LLC, doing business as Vinny’s Ale House, Ernst H. Buggisch
Case Number:  3:17-cv-02024-AWT

Agency
Office of the Solicitor
Date
January 18, 2018
Release Number
18-0097-BOS
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Contact: James C. Lally
Phone Number