PHILADELPHIA – Many chain restaurant managers hold pre-shift meetings to motivate their employees, reinforce training, update the day’s menu and, ultimately, to maximize profits. The time spent in these meetings is typically time for which employers should also be paying their workers, something a well-known national restaurant chain learned in a recent U.S. Department of Labor investigation.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division has recovered $116,308 in back wages for 82 workers at the Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant in Philadelphia after investigators found minimum wage and overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition, the division assessed a civil money penalty of $68,060 as investigators deemed the violations as willful.

The division determined that by failing to pay workers for time they spent attending pre-shift meetings, the Center City restaurant failed to pay the required federal minimum wage. Maggiano’s Little Italy required dining room servers to attend 15- to 30-minute meetings before the start of their scheduled shifts. When employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, this unpaid time triggered overtime violations.

“Restaurant workers are often among the nation’s lowest paid, and most vulnerable, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Wage and Hour District Director James Cain in Philadelphia. “When employers fail to account for all hours employees work, they deprive workers of their hard-earned wages. Other employers should use the outcome of this investigation as an opportunity to review their own pay practices, and ensure they comply with the law.”

Maggiano’s Holding Corporation operates Maggiano’s Little Italy. Maggiano’s Holding Corporation is a subsidiary of Brinker International Inc., which owns, operates or franchises more than 1,600 restaurants under the names Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy in 29 countries and two territories.

The Wage and Hour Division provides its Workers Owed Wages search tool to assist workers owed back wages, and offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos and confidential calls to local Wage and Hour Division offices. Learn more about the FLSA. Contact the Wage and Hour Division toll-free at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) for more information.

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