PROVIDENCE, R.I. – An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has recovered $123,574 in back wages and damages for 22 underpaid workers at four Mozzarella’s and Fitzy’s Pub Family restaurants in southern New England. The employers also paid $4,114 in civil monetary penalties.
The investigation – conducted by the division’s Hartford district and Providence area offices – led the division to obtain subpoenaed records from a third-party payroll service provider and revealed overtime and record-keeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act .
Specifically, the employers:
- Failed to pay overtime when employees worked more than 40 hours per week.
- Failed to maintain accurate payroll records.
- Failed to pay some tipped employees at least the federal minimum wage.
- Required one tipped employee to purchase uniform aprons, resulting in a minimum wage violation.
- Deducted withholdings in excess of the amount allowed by law for child support payments.
“The violations found in this case are all too common in the restaurant industry. Employers who short their employees not only hurt workers and their families, but also gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding competitors,” said Donald Epifano, assistant district director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Providence area office. “As part of the resolution of this case, the restaurants have entered into an agreement which commits them not only to obey the law, but to take additional actions to ensure they pay employees properly now and in the future.”
That agreement commits the restaurants to:
- Conduct annual training for management on FLSA compliance requirements.
- Conduct biannual meetings to educate employees about their rights under the FLSA.
- Amend their employee handbook to include a section on employee rights under the FLSA, as well as prohibited practices such as improper wage deductions. The handbook will also define tipped and non-tipped occupations.
- Engage an independent consultant with specific knowledge and experience regarding the requirements of the FLSA. The consultant will create a system to ensure that the restaurants’ pay and recordkeeping practices are in compliance with the FLSA.
- Have a quarterly audit of all four restaurants performed by the consultant to determine compliance. If violations are found, the consultant will take any corrective action necessary, compute any back wages due, ensure that the employer issues back wage checks to the affected employees, and create and maintain a report of the violations and any applicable corrective action taken. The report must be provided to the Wage and Hour Division upon request.
As a result of the investigation, the restaurants paid back wages, damages and civil money penalties as follows:
- Mozzarella’s Grill & Bar in Dayville, Connecticut, paid three employees $25,255 in back wages and an equal, additional amount in liquidated damages. The restaurant also paid $561 in civil monetary penalties.
- Fitzy’s Pub Family Restaurant in Plainville, Massachusetts, paid five employees $20,639 in back wages and an equal, additional amount in liquidated damages. The restaurant also paid $935 in civil monetary penalties.
- Fitzy’s Pub Family Restaurant in North Providence paid four employees $5,283 in back wages. The restaurant also paid $748 in civil monetary penalties.
- Fitzy’s Pub Family Restaurant in East Greenwich paid five employees $10,610 in back wages and an equal, additional amount in liquidated damages, and also paid $1,870 in civil monetary penalties.
For more information about the FLSA, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Providence area office at 401-528-4431. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.