U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results In Back Wages and Damages for Restaurant Workers
JENKINTOWN, PA – Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has entered a consent judgment ordering Jenkintown-based Metro Kitchen Bar Inc. and its owner to pay $25,902 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 50 employees. Investigators found that Metro Kitchen Bar Inc. – doing business as Drake Tavern – and its owner Zachary Hulayev willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions.
In addition to the back wages and damages, the Department also assessed the employer a penalty in the amount of $15,120 for child labor violations, and for the willful nature of the monetary violations.
The defendants failed to pay some employees overtime at one-and-one-half times their regular rates of pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Specifically, the employer failed to pay “back of the house” employees such as cooks, dishwashers, and prep cooks overtime as a result of regular and recurring management overrides of employee time records that reduced their hours to below 40 per week.
Investigators also found violations when the defendants made deductions for the cost of uniforms from the pay of tipped employees, resulting in their pay falling below the minimum wage. Additionally, the investigation found recordkeeping violations because of regularly altered time records and failure to maintain accurate records of hours worked. The defendants also violated federal child labor requirements by permitting two 15-year-old employees to work beyond permitted hours.
“This resolution secures proper compensation for these hard-working employees, and helps ensure that the law will be followed in the future,” said Wage and Hour District Director James Cain, in Philadelphia.
“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,” said Regional Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III.
The Wage and Hour Division is committed to providing employers with the tools they need to assist them in fulfilling their obligation to understand and comply with the variety of laws the Division enforces. Materials are available in a variety of languages. The division offers useful resources ranging from an interactive E-laws advisor to a complete library of free, downloadable workplace posters. In addition, the Division’s Community Outreach and Resource Planning Specialists conduct ongoing outreach activities to educate stakeholders, including employers, employees, business and labor groups, and professional associations, among others, with accessible, easy-to-understand information about their rights and responsibilities.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
Acosta v. Metro Kitchen Bar, Inc. d/b/a Drake tavern and Zachary Hulayev
Civil Action Number: 2:18-cv-00477-MAK