Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Eastern District of New York has entered a consent judgment requiring three Long Island, New York-area restaurants and their owners to pay a total of $365,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 79 current and former employees. The investigation found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The Department of Labor’s investigation found that Williston Town House, Old Westbury Diner and Towers on the Green and owners Spiros Dimas and Baftije Dimas violated the overtime requirement of the FLSA. Investigators found that cooks, bussers and dishwashers typically worked 60 hours a week or more but that the defendants paid those employees flat weekly salaries regardless of the number of hours that they worked. The restaurants thus violated federal law by failing to pay overtime premiums for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The investigation also found that the restaurants failed to maintain accurate time and pay records, at times failing to keep any time and pay records.
Under the FLSA and New York Labor Laws, restaurant workers like cooks and dishwashers should be paid at a rate of time-and-a-half for all hours they work over 40 in a work week. For example, if a dishwasher in NYC was making $15.00 per hour, his hours over 40 should be paid at $22.50.
“Employers have a responsibility to understand federal wage laws that apply to their businesses, to pay employees properly and to record their employees’ work hours and pay rates accurately,” said a representative of the Department of Labor.