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Thursday, December 12, 2019

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR: After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation, Court Orders Massachusetts Restaurants to Pay $392,392 in Back Wages, Damages and Penalties

By Press release submission | Oct 7, 2019

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U.S. Department of Labor issued the following announcement on Oct. 2.

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.

Original source can be found here.

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U.S. Department of Labor