Mythos Restaurant and its owners have to pay a total amount of $329,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 21 restaurant workers, according to a judgment that resolves a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging the Queens, New York restaurant and its owners with violations of the minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The legal action followed an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that found the restaurant underpaid 21 low-wage restaurant employees between August 23, 2008 and August 20, 2011. Specifically restaurant wait staff were not paid any wages and worked for tips only, while busboys and kitchen staff were paid a fixed shift rate, but not overtime, for hours worked above 40 in a workweek.
Maria Rosado, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division’s District Director for New York City stated “all employers who are violating the FLSA should know that the department is committed to using all the tools at its disposal, including collection of liquidated damages and assessment of civil money penalties, to achieve compliance with law. This employer’s failure to pay wages required by the FLSA negatively impacts the workers who work without pay, their families and their competitors, who pay lawful wages.” Rosado added: “unfortunately, the minimum wage, overtime pay, and record-keeping violations that were found at this restaurant are all too common in the restaurant industry.”
In addition to the back wages and liquidated damages, which will be paid to the workers, the restaurant will pay a $7,100 civil money penalty. They will also post the FLSA notice, in English and Spanish, in the workplace to inform workers of their rights. Further, the judgment requires the restaurant to pay proper minimum wage and overtime to workers and maintain adequate and accurate records. It restrains them from retaliating against any employee who files a complaint with, or cooperates in an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as time and one-half their regular rate for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages and hours and other conditions of employment. It prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.