A group of Boston-area restaurants and their owners, Patrick Lyons and Edward Sparks, have come to an agreement to pay $424,000 to 409 employees for Fair Labor Standards Act violations. Out of the amount, $212,000 will be in back wages and "liquidated damages." Kings in Dedham is one of the restaurants listed.
According to an investigation that was done by the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, employees at Kings were not compensated for all work hours.
Usually when an employee works over 40 hours, they are suppose to receive time and one-half their regular rate. The investigation found that these employees were only paid the regular rate.
“Utilizing contract labor providers does not absolve employers from their responsibility of complying with the FLSA and paying workers the wages they are legally due,” said George Rioux, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Boston. “The use of contract labor providers in the restaurant industry has increased over the past several years, along with violations. Employers have a choice. Put these workers on payroll or ensure their labor providers are paying their employees in compliance with the FLSA.”
Michael Felsen, the department's regional solicitor for New England, wants employers to be aware that they will end up paying twice when employees are under-payed. This is because when there is a violation, the department will not only seek the back wages, but an equal amount of "liquidated damages."
“The time has come for the restaurant industry in Massachusetts to address this issue seriously. Underpaying employees not only hurts workers, it undercuts those employers who have chosen to obey the law in the first place," Felsen said.”