A pizza restaurant chain in Manchester, Connecticut was held liable for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). An investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division found that the pizza restaurant chain had violated the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping requirements between February 2013 and November 2015. The FLSA requires that non-exempt employees receive one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a work week and that employers maintain adequate and accurate records of employees’ wages and work hours.
The DOL found that the restaurant did not pay overtime to three employees who worked up to seventy-five (75) hours per week. Additionally, the restaurant took payroll deductions for cash register shortages that resulted in one employee receiving less than minimum wage. The investigation also found that the restaurant maintained and supplied false time and payroll records and statements to investigators during the current investigation and a prior investigation in 2015.
Additionally, the investigation found that between December 2015 and April 2016, the owner of the restaurant continually pressured one employee to make false statements to investigators, leading the employee to believe he had no choice but to resign. The Department of Labor charged that the owner’s behavior resulted in the worker’s constructive discharge in violation of the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provisions.
On November 16, 2017, a United States District Court in Connecticut issued a judgment against Chemro LLC d/b/a People’s Choice, and Defendant Robert Y. Mercier II for back pay in the amount of $67,151.14, which includes minimum wage and overtime payments due as well as liquidated damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, civil money penalties, and interest. The Court also ordered that the company and its owner comply with the FLSA and “refrain from discharging or discriminating against employees who initiate or cooperate with an FLSA investigation.”
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