Fairfield County Restaurants Pay $116,087 in Back Wages and Liquidated Damages to 35 Employees After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation
HARTFORD, CT – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), four Fairfield County, Connecticut, restaurants and their owners have paid a total of $116,087 in back wages and liquidated damages to 35 employees for violating the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD found the restaurants - Garelick & Herbs of Westport Inc., Garelick & Herbs of Greenwich, Inc., Garelick & Herbs of New Canaan Inc., and Garelick & Herbs of Saugatuck Inc. - and owners, Jason A. Garelick and Paola V. Garelick, violated FLSA overtime requirements when they paid hourly employees straight time rates for hours they worked beyond 40 in a workweek. They also paid kitchen staff on a shift or salary basis, resulting in additional overtime violations when these employees worked more than 40 hours per week yet were not paid overtime. WHD also cited the employers for recordkeeping violations for failing to maintain records of the number of hours worked by kitchen employees.
“Employees must receive all the wages they have earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director David R. Gerrain, in Hartford, Connecticut. “These types of violations can be avoided. We encourage employers to reach out to us for information and assistance in understanding their responsibilities.”
In addition to the back wages and damages, the employers agreed to comply with the FLSA, adopt and distribute to all employees a written leave and overtime policy, and to provide FLSA compliance training to all managers at all their restaurants.
The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division's 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 www.dol.gov/whd including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by 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.