- A federal court has ordered two Boston restaurants, Simco’s Roslindale and Simco’s Mattapan, to pay $195,680 for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay minimum wage, failing to pay overtime and failing to maintain complete and accurate records of employees’ hours and pay, the U.S. Department of Labor said Wednesday in a release. They have also been ordered to pay a $14,980 civil money penalty.
- In addition to the fees it levies, the order requires the restaurants to cooperate with future investigations and prohibits them from interfering with any employee’s future complaints or cooperation with the DOL.
- “Too often, we find violations like these in the food service industry,” Wage and Hour District Director Carlos Matos said in the release. “Industry employers must understand that failing to pay minimum wage and overtime as federal law requires makes it harder for workers and their families to make ends meet and may have costly consequences for business owners.”
DOL has been busy in 2022. The agency requested a $30 million increase in funding for the Wage and Hour Division, citing worker misclassification and prevailing wage issues as areas of focus, and announced a plan in February to hire 100 wage and hour investigators.
As Matos noted in the release, it’s extremely common for restaurants and other food service operations to run afoul of wage and hour laws. In fact, in FY2021, food services had far and away the most violations, with DOL logging 4,237 cases — resulting in a total of $34,741,032 in fines and 29,209 employees affected.
There are a handful of legal requirements restaurants often find themselves in violation of: minimum wage payment, proper tip management, overtime and child labor. Employers are entitled to include tips as part of minimum wage, but they must not pay less than $2.13 per hour and must track tips to ensure they cover the difference. Tipped employees must also retain their full tips or participate in valid tip pooling; employers that retain tips or distribute them to nontipped employees violate the law as well.
Restaurants with workers under 18 must abide by the regulations that exist for such employees. DOL has released a fact sheet to help food service operations navigate the FLSA.