PLAINVILLE — An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $123,574 in back wages and damages for 22 underpaid workers at four Mozzarella’s and Fitzy’s Pub Family restaurants in southern New England, including the Fitzy’s Pub in Plainville.
Fitzy’s Pub Family Restaurant in Plainville had to pay five employees $20,639 in back wages and an equal amount in damages. The restaurant also paid $935 in civil monetary penalties, the Department of Labor said in a release Thursday.
The investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour division led to the subpoena of records from a third-party payroll service provider and revealed overtime and record-keeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the department said.
The employers failed to pay overtime when employees worked more than 40 hours per week, failed to maintain accurate payroll records, failed to pay some tipped employees at least the federal minimum wage, required one tipped employee to purchase uniform aprons that resulted in a minimum wage violation, and deducted withholdings in excess of the amount allowed by law for child support payments, officials said.
“The violations found in this case are all too common in the restaurant industry. Employers who short their employees not only hurt workers and their families, but also gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding competitors,” said Donald Epifano, assistant district director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Providence area office. “As part of the resolution of this case, the restaurants have entered into an agreement which commits them not only to obey the law, but to take additional actions to ensure they pay employees properly now and in the future.”
That agreement commits the restaurants to conduct annual training for management on federal compliance requirements, conduct biannual meetings to educate employees about their rights, and amend their employee handbook to include a section on employee rights as well as prohibited practices such as improper wage deductions. The handbook will also define tipped and non-tipped occupations.
Also, the employers must hire an independent consultant who will create a system to ensure the restaurants’ pay and record-keeping practices are in compliance with the FLSA. And a quarterly audit of the restaurants will be performed by the consultant.
The other restaurants are a Mozzarella’s Grill & Bar in Dayville, Conn. that had to pay employees $25,255, and Fitzy’s Pub Family restaurants in North Providence and East Greenwich, R.I. The other Fitzy’s pubs had to pay employees $5,283 and $10,610.