U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Syracuse, New York, Restaurants Paying $184,000 in Back Wages and Damages to 103 Employees
SYRACUSE, NY – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), GV Foods Inc. has paid $92,007 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 103 current and former employees at its Syracuse, New York, restaurants – Peppino’s Neapolitan Express, Honey Cafe, and Peppino’s Pizzeria. The investigation found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD investigators determined the employer violated the FLSA’s minimum wage requirements by requiring delivery drivers for whom they were claiming a tip credit to contribute to a tip pool that included non-tipped employees such as cooks and managers. Under the FLSA, employees for whom an employer is claiming a tip credit may be required to contribute to a tip pool if it includes only tipped employees. A valid tip pool may not include managers. The employer also violated FLSA overtime requirements by paying employees straight-time rates, in cash, when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Additional violations resulted when the firm failed to combine the hours employees worked across multiple locations within a workweek when determining whether overtime was due. Instead, the employer paid employees for the hours they worked at each location separately, without regard to whether the total exceeded 40.
The employer further violated FLSA overtime requirements when it failed to pay a salaried manager his guaranteed full salary when he worked fewer than 40 hours in a workweek, effectively paying him on an hourly basis when they paid a prorated amount instead. This practice defeated an otherwise applicable exemption from the overtime requirements for salaried managers, and resulted in the employee being eligible for and due overtime. Failure to display the required minimum wage poster resulted in an FLSA recordkeeping violation.
“Other employers should use the resolution of this case as an opportunity to review their own pay practices,” said Wage and Hour Assistant District Director John Steves in Syracuse, New York. “The U.S. Department of Labor provides numerous tools to help employers comply with the law, and we encourage employers and employees alike to contact the Wage and Hour Division for assistance. We will continue our work to level the playing field for employers, and to ensure workers are paid what they have earned.”
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 https://www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.
WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the Nation's workforce. WHD enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to Federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.