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U.S. Department of Labor

US Labor Department initiative finds more than $1.3 million in back wages due to 478 underpaid Massachusetts employees

U.S. Department of Labor For Immediate Release March 29, 2012

US Labor Department initiative finds more than $1.3 million in

back wages due to 478 underpaid Massachusetts employees

Ongoing labor law enforcement efforts aim to remedy violations in restaurant industry

BOSTON – An ongoing enforcement initiative conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor focused on the

restaurant industry in Massachusetts has uncovered significant violations of the minimum wage, overtime and

record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. To date, investigations by the Boston District Office

of the department’s Wage and Hour Division have found $1,307,808 in back wages due to 478 employees of

multiple establishments. In addition, the division now is assessing liquidated damages, payable to employees,

when employers are found in violation.

“The restaurant industry employs some of our country’s lowest paid workers, who are vulnerable to

exploitation,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “In response to the extensive level of noncompliance we

discovered, we will expand our efforts to bring the industry into compliance to ensure that employees receive

the minimum wage and overtime wages required by law.”

“Our investigations found that several restaurants violated the FLSA by paying employees flat salaries for all

hours worked without overtime pay, failing to combine hours worked at multiple locations for overtime

purposes, paying incorrect overtime rates to tipped employees, making illegal deductions from employees’

wages and failing to keep accurate records of employees’ hours,” said George A. Rioux, the division’s district

director in Boston. “Even more serious, our investigations found an emerging trend of misclassifying restaurant

workers as independent contractors in order to avoid minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping

requirements of the FLSA.”

Among the establishments found to have underpaid their workers are 15 Not Your Average Joe’s restaurants in

Greater Boston and eastern Massachusetts; six Science Partners restaurants in Cambridge and Boston, including

Miracle of Science, Middlesex Lounge and Tory Row; Metropolitan Club restaurants in Chestnut Hill, Dedham

and Natick; Noon Hill Grill in Medfield; T.G.I. Friday’s in Framingham; Fresh City restaurants in Burlington,

Needham Heights, Newton Upper Falls and Woburn; and Paul W. Marks in Everett. Previously announced

cases involved D’Ann’s Restaurant Inc., doing business as D’Ann’s in Abington; 1760 Society Inc., doing

business as The Sherborn Inn and The Sherborn Out in Sherborn; and Buchhalter Ltd., doing business as The

Upper Crust Pizzeria in Salem. All the establishments have pledged full compliance with the FLSA and have

paid or are in the process of paying their employees.

Over the past year, the division also has assessed a total of $295,108 in liquidated damages against

Massachusetts restaurants. When warranted, the division will assess civil money penalties against employers,

payable to the government, in addition to requiring back wages and liquidated damages.

U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print,

Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.

updated: 6 years ago