ESTERO, FL – A federal investigation of three North Miami Beach restaurants that found the operator denied 58 workers their full overtime wages, has recovered $18,705 in back wages and liquidated damages for the affected employees.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Restaurant Investment at Bonita LLC – the operator of three Divieto Ristorante locations in Estero, Doral and Aventura – failed to pay the additional overtime premium required at half of the applicable minimum wage or regular rate when employees worked more than 40 hours in a week. The employer’s actions violate the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The division also found the employer allowed two 15-year-old employees to work after 10 p.m. on non-school days, a violation of FLSA work hour standards for workers under the age of 16. The department assessed the employer a $1,382 civil money penalty to address the child labor violation.
“Denying workers their legally earned wages hinders their ability to provide for themselves and their families,” said Wage and Hour Division District Office Director Nicolas Ratmiroff in Tampa, Florida. “As employers find it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain the workers they need, those who shortchange wages and take advantage of their employees may struggle to find the staff to support their businesses.”
In December 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that 958,000 food and accommodation services workers left their positions, and that there will be about 41,400 openings for food service managers each year, on average, from 2020 to 2030.
The Wage and Hour Division provides multiple tools to help employers understand their responsibilities and offers confidential compliance assistance to anyone with questions about how to comply with the law. Workers can call the division confidentially with questions and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.
For information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visit the agency’s website to learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.