U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Manhattan Restaurants Paying $363,284 in Wages and Damages to 109 Employees
NEW YORK, NY – Following a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation and federal court trial, four restaurants operating under the name Gina La Fornarina and their owner Paola Pedrignani have paid $363,284 in back wages and liquidated damages to 109 employees, resolving violations of overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD investigators found that the business failed to aggregate hours for overtime purposes when employees worked at multiple locations or performed two different roles at the same location in the same workweek, with employees receiving separate checks for work in each location. The employer also paid certain kitchen employees and pizza chefs on a salaried basis without paying overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, following a bench trial, ruled that the violations were willful and ordered the defendants to pay the back wages and damages. The restaurants and Pedrignani have paid the full amount as well as court costs and post-judgment interest.
"The U.S. Department of Labor works to ensure that employees receive all the wages they have rightfully earned and that employers can compete on a level playing field," said David An, Wage and Hour Division District Director in New York City. "We encourage employers and employees to review the many tools and resources the Division provides to explain their rights and responsibilities under the law."
"This case reinforces employers' obligations to comply with overtime and recordkeeping requirements and to make certain that employees are paid all the money they are legally owed," said Jeffrey S. Rogoff, Regional Solicitor of Labor in New York. "Employers should review their pay practices and correct any that fail to comply with the law."
WHD's New York City District Office conducted the investigation. Attorney Advisor Micole Allekotte, Trial Attorney Amy Tai and Senior Trial Attorney James Wong of the Office of the Solicitor litigated the case for the Division.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.
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Manna 2nd Avenue LLC dba Gina La Fornarina, Manna Madison Avenue LLC dba Gina La Fornarina, Manna Amsterdam Avenue LLC dba Gina La Fornarina, Manna Lexington Avenue LLC dba Gina La Fornarina, and Paola Pedrignani, individually and as owner.
Civil Action No. 15-CV-04655-JCF