Federal court enters consent order requiring two Boston restaurants to pay $210K in back wages, liquidated damages, penalties after Department of Labor investigation
BOSTON – A federal court has ordered two Boston restaurants to pay $195,680 in back wages and liquidated damages after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found the employers willfully failed to pay some employees the minimum wage and overtime compensation the law requires. The department also levied a $14,980 civil money penalty.
Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Simco’s Restaurant of Roslindale Inc. – operating as Simco’s Roslindale – and Simco’s Restaurant Inc. – operating as Simco’s Mattapan – and their owners, Denise and Evangelos Fotopoulos violated the Fair Labor Standards Act as follows:
- Failed to compensate some employees at the federally required minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
- Did not pay some employees the overtime premium for hours over 40 in a workweek.
- Failed to maintain complete and accurate records of employees’ work hours, complete and accurate records of payments made to employees, and contact information for employees.
“Too often, we find violations like these in the food service industry,” said Wage and Hour District Director Carlos Matos in Boston. “Industry employers must understand that failing to pay minimum wage and overtime as federal law requires makes it harder for workers and their families to make ends meet and may have costly consequences for business owners.”
In addition to the recovery of $97,840 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, the consent judgment and order obtained by the department’s Office of the Solicitor in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts enjoins and restrains the restaurant and its owners permanently from violating the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping requirements.
The order also requires them to cooperate with any future investigations, prohibits them from discharging or discriminating against any employee because that employee engaged in FLSA-protected activity, such as filing a complaint with, providing information to, or cooperating with a Wage and Hour Division investigation.
In fiscal year 2021, the division recovered more than $34.7 million in back wages for 29,209 food service industry workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there were 1.2 million job openings in the accommodations and food service industry in August 2022, while 1,022,000 accommodations and food service industry workers separated from their jobs.
The FLSA requires that most employees in the U.S. be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at not less than time and one-half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
For more information about workers’ rights and other employee rights enforced by the division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions regardless of immigration status, and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.
Download the agency’s new Timesheet App, now available for Android and iOS devices, to ensure hours and pay are accurate.