Three restaurants in Syracuse, New York will pay $184,000 to 103 current and former employees for wage theft violations that cheated their workers out of minimum wage and overtime pay.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor determined that Peppino’s Neapolitan Express, Honey Cafe, and Peppino’s Pizzeria violated the FLSA’s minimum wage requirements by requiring delivery drivers for whom they were claiming a tip credit to contribute to a tip pool that included non-tipped employees such as cooks and managers. Under the FLSA, employees for whom an employer is claiming a tip credit may be required to contribute to a tip pool only if it is limited to other tipped employees. A lawful tip pool may not include managers or non-tipped workers such as kitchen staff.
The restaurants were also found to have violated overtime requirements of the FLSA by paying employees straight-time rates, in cash, when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Under both the FLSA and New York Labor Laws, employees should be paid at a rate of one-and-a-half times their regular hourly rate (or time and a half) for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Additional violations resulted when the restaurants failed to combine the hours employees worked across multiple locations within a workweek when determining whether overtime was due. Instead, the restaurants paid employees for the hours they worked at each location separately, without regard to whether the total exceeded 40.
If you are a restaurant employee in upstate New York and have questions regarding wage theft, please contact Pechman Law Group at 212-583-9500. We have handled over 200 wage theft cases across the United States on behalf of restaurant workers and our attorneys have been featured in the Wall Street Journal.