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Massachusetts Restaurant Agrees with Labor Department to Settle Wage Theft Allegations

BOSTON, MA — The United States Department of Labor and a Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts restaurant recently agreed to a settlement that will resolve wage theft claims against the business, compensating 15 current and former employees for all their back pay. In addition to the $141,132 in back wages and damages, the defendant will also pay a civil fine and agree to amend its business practices to ensure future wage theft does not take place.

An investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found Café Misono Inc. and owner Kenneth Lee violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from March 31, 2013, and March 28, 2016 by not paying minimum wage and overtime to workers. Additionally, the defendant violated the record keeping provisions of the FLSA by failing to record all of the employees’ hours worked.

Specifically, the defendants failed to pay overtime to its cooks, dishwashers, and servers who worked more than 40 hours per week. According to the Labor Department, many of these employees frequently worked as many as 60 hours per week, but did not receive one and a half times their average hourly rate of pay.

Furthermore, one server worked as many as 17 hours in a single shift for nothing more than tips. Under the FLSA, employers must pay tip wage earners at least $2.13 hour and ensure the worker earns at least $7.25 per hour or make up the difference.

“Employers that choose to underpay their workers, and then attempt to mask their behavior by providing inaccurate information to the government, are doubly violating the law. This hurts workers; it hurts taxpayers, and it hurts responsible employers who obey the law,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Michael Felsen.

“The Wage and Hour Division is fully committed to ensuring that workers receive the wages they have rightfully earned. Violations such as these can be avoided if employers know and heed the requirements of the law,” said Division District Office Director Carlos Matos, in Boston.

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