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U.S. Department of Labor Lawsuit Leads to Court Action Prohibiting Boston-Area Pizza Restaurants from Continued Violations and Retaliating Against Employees
BOSTON, MA – In connection with a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the owners of several Boston, Massachusetts, pizza restaurants have agreed to a preliminary order enjoining them from retaliating against employees or former employees, and from instructing employees not to speak with or to lie to U.S. Department of Labor investigators.
The preliminary injunction by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts prohibits Papantoniadis Pizza Inc.; Athenian Enterprises Inc.; and their owners, Stavros “Steve” Papantoniadis and Polyxeny “Paulina” Papantoniadis, from violating the minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Department sought the injunction to halt violations that have continued to occur after it sued the restaurants in March 2017 following an investigation by the WHD.
The Department’s lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to pay proper overtime to 120 employees by either paying them straight time for overtime hours, or by not paying them at all for hours they worked beyond 40 in a week. The lawsuit further alleges that the employer failed to pay the minimum wage to six employees, and employed a 16- and 17-year-old employee as delivery drivers – a prohibited occupation for minors. In addition, the restaurant owners failed to keep accurate pay records, paid employees in cash off the books, misrepresented employees’ pay rates, and falsified time records.
The injunction requires the defendants to post a statement for employees – in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, and Greek – detailing the injunction, their rights under the FLSA, and the prohibitions against their employer retaliating against them or coercing them into making false statements. The injunction further allows a Department representative to read the statement aloud to the employees.
“We pursued this action to stop violations that continued despite our lawsuit, to ensure these employees are paid what they have earned, and to level the economic playing field for employers who obey the law,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Carlos Matos, in Boston.
“This injunction sends a strong message to the public and to employers,” said Merle Hyman, Counsel for Wage and Hour Programs in the office of the Regional Solicitor of Labor. “The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to resolve situations where employers deny employees proper pay, falsify records, or retaliate against their employees.”
The Division’s Boston District Office conducted the investigation. Senior Trial Attorney Scott Miller of the Boston Regional Office of the Solicitor is litigating the case for the Division. The defendants consented to the injunction without admitting or denying liability.
For more information about the FLSA or any of the federal wage laws administered by the Division, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Boston District Office at 617-624-6700. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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Acosta v. Papantoniadis Pizza Inc. d/b/a Stash’s Pizza; Athenian Enterprises Inc., d/b/a Stash’s Pizza; Boston Pizza Co., LLC; Weymouth Co. LLC; Stavros “Steve” Papantoniadis; and Polyxeny “Paulina” Papantoniadis.
Civil Action Number: 1:17-cv-10500-ADB