DETROIT – The operator of 20 Detroit-area restaurants has paid $88,020 in back wages and damages to 127 employees after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found the employer denied workers at 13 locations their full wages and allowed a minor-aged employee to work longer and later than legally permitted.

Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined the Joe Vicari Restaurant Group violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions when they paid:

Direct cash wages to non-tipped employees that were less than the required minimum wage.
An overtime rate to tipped employees based upon their cash wage rather than minimum wage, which led to overtime violations.
Straight-time rates in cash for kitchen employees who worked overtime hours.
The division also learned the employer did the following:

Failed to keep accurate pay records for employees paid in cash.
Allowed one 15-year-old to work past 9 p.m. and more than 8 hours in a day in violation of child labor hours standards.
Deducted the cost of required uniforms from tipped employees, resulting in minimum wage violations.
The department assessed $791 in penalties for the child labor violations.

“A restaurant group in business for more than a few decades must be well aware of the laws protecting the wages of tipped and hourly employees,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Timolin Mitchell in Detroit. “Violations like these are all too common in the food service industry. Employers are legally obligated to comply with federal law and make certain their managers are also well-versed in federal laws governing their employees.”

The department’s Quick Service Restaurants Compliance Assistance Toolkit explains wage laws for the industry.

“Learning new skills in the workforce is an important part of growing up – but we must protect children and ensure their first jobs do not interfere with their education or well-being,” Mitchell added. “The Fair Labor Standards Act allows for developmental experiences but restricts the hours and duties of young workers and provides for penalties when employers do not follow the law.”

Headquartered in Warren and operating in the Detroit metro area for more than 40 years, the Joe Vicari Restaurant Group includes Andiamo, Andiamo Bistro, Andiamo Italian Steakhouse, Birmingham Pub, Bronze Door, Country Inn, Joe Muer Seafood, The Statler, Vito’s Italian Bakery and 2941 Mediterranean Street Food.

The YouthRules! initiative promotes positive and safe work experiences for teens by providing information about protections for young workers to youth, parents, employers and educators. Through this initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor and its partners promote positive and safe work experiences that help prepare young workers to enter the workforce. The Wage and Hour Division has also published Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers to help employers comply with the law.

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 and how to file an online complaint. For confidential compliance assistance, employees and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.

Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – also available in Spanish – to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

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