US Department of Labor files complaint against Middlesboro restaurant, owner who retaliated, fired worker for contacting state labor agency
Date of action: Nov. 21, 2022
Type of action: Anti-retaliation complaint
Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
Names of defendants: Ike’s Artisan Pizza LLC, owner Isaac Martin Ausmus
Allegations: Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the employer – operating in Middlesboro, Kentucky – engaged in intimidating actions when they fired a server at the restaurant after learning that the worker contacted the Kentucky Labor Cabinet regarding concerns about wages. By doing so, the employer violated the worker’s federally protected rights. On Nov. 21, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor filed an anti-retaliation complaint and requested a court order to enjoin and restrain the employer from further Fair Labor Standards Act violations.
Quote: “Workers have the right to speak with government agencies about their pay. When employers interfere with that right, the U.S. Department of Labor will seek court intervention to protect an employees’ protected activity,” said Regional Solicitor Tremelle Howard in Atlanta. “We urge workers to contact the agency if they believe they have suffered retaliation. Employers are also encouraged to contact the Wage and Hour Division to get the information they need to resolve compliance concerns.”
“The Office of the Solicitor is always prepared to protect worker’s rights in federal court,” added Howard.”
Background: The Wage and Hour Division protects workers against retaliation and has regulations that also prohibit harassment, intimidation or adverse actions against employees that assert their worker rights. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division and how to file an online complaint. Workers and employers with questions can contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from.
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The department’s Wage and Hour Division, Louisville District Office investigated this case, and its Office of the Solicitor in Nashville filed the complaint for the department.