News Release

US Department of Labor recovers more than $200K in back wages, damages for 36 employees of Southern Maine bar, grill; assesses $35K in penalties

Court prohibits Antonia’s Pizzeria in Freeport from engaging in FLSA retaliation

MANCHESTER, NH – A U.S. Department of Labor investigation into the pay practices and use of child labor at a southern Maine bar and grill has found the employers failed to properly pay 36 workers their wages, falsified timecards to avoid paying overtime, and allowed minors to work long hours in excess of the legal limits. The investigation found that one of these underaged employees cleaned a hazardous meat slicer.

The department has also resolved retaliation-related litigation with Antonia’s Inc. in Freeport based on allegations that they attempted to dissuade employees from providing the department with truthful information requested by investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division.

The division determined that Antonia’s Inc., doing business as Antonia’s Pizzeria, did not pay certain workers for all their hours worked or pay proper overtime for hours over 40 in a workweek. They also learned the employers edited and deleted timecard entries, allegedly to conceal overtime hours worked by employees.

Investigators also learned the business operators permitted five 15-year-old employees to work more hours than federal law allows. In addition, they allowed a 16-year-old to clean a power-driven meat slicer, a hazardous occupation under federal regulations.

Following its investigation, the division recovered $184,940, representing $92,470 in unpaid wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, for the affected workers. The department assessed Antonia’s with $29,052 in civil money penalties for its willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions, and with $6,088 in penalties for the child labor violations.

“Our investigation found that Antonia’s denied dozens of workers their full wages, falsified timecards, and violated federal laws that protect young workers’ well-being and safety,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven McKinney in Manchester, New Hampshire. “This investigation’s outcome shows that employers may face costly consequences when they fail to comply with worker protection laws.” 

In a related action, the department’s Regional Solicitor’s Office in Boston litigated allegations revealed during the investigation. Specifically, investigators heard claims that the employers pressured workers not to speak with investigators, coached workers on their statements and offered money to workers to make statements that would make investigators believe Antonia’s had complied with the law.

As a result, the department obtained a consent preliminary injunction in federal court to halt the retaliation and ultimately resolved the retaliation complaint in a consent judgment. The judgment required Antonia’s to pay employees $16,000 in punitive damages and forbids the employers from doing the following:

  • Telling any employee or former employee to provide false information to the department or otherwise influencing any employee with respect to their participation in any FLSA investigation or litigation the department brings.
  • Demanding, accepting or keeping any amount paid or payable to any current or former employee, or attempting to recover any amounts paid to any current or former employee in connection with the consent judgment or any other legal proceeding brought by the department to enforce the FLSA.
  • Taking any other adverse action against any employee or former employee or telling any employee or former employee that they will suffer any adverse action because the employee or former employee has engaged in or is about to engage in activity protected by the FLSA.

The consent judgment also requires Antonia’s Inc. to provide training to all managers on the FLSA’s provisions concerning tips, minimum wages, overtime compensation, recordkeeping, child labor, and retaliation.

“The department will take swift legal action to halt retaliation against workers and will not tolerate wage theft,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Maia Fisher in Boston. “This case serves as a message to employers in New England that they should not take any action that would dissuade employees from engaging in FLSA protected activity, including instructing employees not to cooperate with or provide false information to the department.”

View the consent judgment.

“We urge employers to review the Wage and Hour Division’s extensive online compliance assistance toolkits and to contact the Northern New England District Office at 603-666-7716 with any questions about the Fair Labor Standards Act’s wage and child labor protections. Workers can call our office confidentially with questions regardless of where they are from,” McKinney added.

The Fair Labor Standards Act allows for developmental experiences but restricts the employment of youth in certain jobs and provides for penalties when employers do not follow the law. The YouthRules! initiative promotes valuable work experiences for youth by providing information about protections for young workers. The Wage and Hour Division has also published Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers to help employers comply with the law.

For more information about workers’ rights enforced by the division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.  

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including its search tool to learn if you are owed back wages collected by the division. Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App in English or Spanish for free.

Wage and Hour Division
August 29, 2023
Release Number
Media Contact: James C. Lally
Phone Number
Media Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
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