Labor Department obtains judgment to recover $252K in back wages, damages from Norristown restaurant, owners for denying full pay to 21 workers
NORRISTOWN, PA – A federal court in Pennsylvania has entered a consent judgment ordering a Norristown restaurant and its owners to pay $252,579 in back wages and liquidated damages to 21 employees, an action that follows a federal investigation that found the employers denied proper overtime pay intentionally.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division found College Pizza Inc., operating as Olympia Pizzeria, and owners Dimitrios Efthimiou and Stravos Efthimiou did not pay kitchen workers time and one-half for hours over 40 in a workweek.
Investigators discovered that the employers tried to conceal their violations by paying cash wages to two employees and by not recording their hours worked or amounts paid. They also paid other kitchen staff a portion of their hours on payroll and the remainder in cash, neither of which included required overtime pay, and paid four other kitchen staff straight-time rates for overtime hours.
The division also found Olympia Pizzeria lacked an accurate record of all employees’ hours worked and learned the restaurant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor provisions by employing two children too young to work as delivery drivers.
“Olympia Pizzeria denied its workers their rightful wages by not paying them overtime as required by federal law. Unfortunately, this type of violation is common in the food service industry and deprives too many hard-working people of their full pay,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director James Cain in Philadelphia. “Employers have a legal obligation to properly pay their employees, as well as protect the young workers they employ.”
In addition to the back wages and damages, the judgment requires Olympia Pizzeria, Efthimiou and Efthimiou to pay $14,360 in civil money penalties for the willful overtime violations and $4,266 for the child labor violations.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to using all available enforcement tools to ensure that workers are afforded the protections required by the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Deputy Regional Solicitor of Labor Samantha Thomas in Philadelphia.
The YouthRules! initiative promotes positive and safe work experiences for teens by providing information about protections for young workers to youth, parents, employers and educators. Through this initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor and its partners promote developmental work experiences that help prepare young workers to enter the workforce. The Wage and Hour Division has also published Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers to help employers comply with the law.
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. Employers and workers can call the division confidentially with questions, regardless of where they are from. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – free and now available in Spanish – to track hours and pay.