U.S. Department of Labor Files Suit to Recover Back Wages And Damages for Pennsylvania Restaurant Employees
LANSDOWNE, PA – The U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit against Mosluoglu Inc. – operator of Empire Diner & Restaurant in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania – and its principals after an investigation found willful violations of the federal minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The Department's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found that Mosluoglu Inc., company president Ihsan Gunaydin, and restaurant manager Engin Gunaydin seized 10 percent to 15 percent of servers' total tips per shift. As a result, servers were owed the full minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, rather than the $2.83 tipped wage that they received, and are entitled to restoration of their illegally seized tips. Investigators also determined that some employees received straight time rates for overtime hours, and servers were given overtime at time-and-one-half their cash wages ($2.83 per hour) instead of basing overtime rates on the full minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as the law requires.
"This company, its president, and its restaurant manager did not pay employees what they rightfully earned," said Wage and Hour Division District Office Director James Cain, in Philadelphia. "We strongly encourage employers to reach out to us for assistance so that violations like these can be avoided."
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Department's suit seeks back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for 83 employees. In addition to obtaining back wages and damages, the suit asks the court to prohibit the restaurant from violating the law in the future.
"The U.S. Department of Labor seeks to restore wages to Empire Diner's underpaid employees, and to level the playing field for employers that comply with the law," said Regional Solicitor Oscar Hampton III, in Philadelphia.
WHD 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. Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Division, contact its 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.