After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation, Court Orders Massachusetts Restaurants to Pay $392,392 in Back Wages, Damages and Penalties
BOSTON, MA – After a U.S. Department of Labor investigation, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has entered a consent judgment and order requiring three Massachusetts restaurants and two of their owners to pay $355,944 in back wages and liquidated damages to 52 employees to resolve violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). They will also pay a civil money penalty of $36,448 because their violations were willful and repeated.
Investigators with the Department's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found that Mavilis LLC, doing business as Coachmen's Lodge in Bellingham; J & D Pizza Inc., doing business as Briggs Corner Pizzeria in Attleboro; and NNMW Inc., doing business as Mediterranean Grill & Pizzeria in Attleboro; and owners Vassilios Nicolos and Nikolaos Nicolos violated the FLSA's overtime and recordkeeping requirements.
The defendants paid tipped employees an overtime premium based on one-and-one-half times the Massachusetts tipped employee cash wage instead of the employees' regular rates of pay. By doing so, the employers made overtime payments to workers at rates lower than those the FLSA requires. They also paid kitchen and grounds employees flat salaries, which resulted in overtime violations because the employers failed to pay the required overtime premium to employees who worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. They also failed to keep accurate records of the number of hours employees worked.
"Employers in the restaurant and other industries can prevent violations from occurring by reviewing their pay practices to ensure they comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act," said Wage and Hour District Director Carlos Matos, in Boston, Massachusetts. "The U.S. Department of Labor provides many tools to help employers comply with the law. We encourage employers and employees alike to contact the Wage and Hour Division for assistance."
"The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to take appropriate legal action to ensure workers are paid the wages they have earned and to level the economic playing field for law-abiding employers," said New England Regional Solicitor of Labor Maia Fisher, also in Boston.
The Division's District Office conducted the investigation. The Boston Regional Office of the Solicitor finalized the resolution of the case for the Division. Read the complaint and consent judgment and order.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the WHD, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.
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.
# # #
Pizzella v. Mavilis, LLC, doing business as Coachmen's Lodge; J & D Pizza, Inc., doing business as Briggs Corner Pizzeria; NNMW, Inc., doing business as Mediterranean Grill & Pizzeria; Vasilios Nicolos; and Nikolaos Nicolos.
Civil Action Number: 19-cv-11833-WGY