The U.S. Department of Labor has cracked down on the Joe Vicari Restaurant Group, which owns several Italian, American and French style food chains across the U.S. The focus of DOL’s wage recovery was 13 of the 20 Detroit-area Vicari group restaurants; the operator paid $88,020 in back wages and damages to 127 employees.
Wage and Hour Division investigators found that not only did the Vicari group deny workers full wages, but also allowed a 15-year-old to work past 9 p.m. and more than 8 hours per day (later and longer than legally permitted).
Specifically, the WHD found that cash wages for non-tipped employees fell under minimum wage, the overtime rate for tipped employees was based on cash wage rather than minimum wage and straight-time rates were paid in cash to the kitchen workers who worked overtime.
On top of all of these violations, Vicari deducted the cost of required uniforms from tipped workers — another minimum wage violation.
Wage and Hour Division District Director Timolin Mitchell noted in a statement that “violations like these are all too common in the food service industry.”
Mitchell chastised the Vicari group for violating the laws, particularly because the Michigan-based company has operated for more than 40 years. “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,” Mitchell said. The DOL also highlighted the restaurant-specific compliance toolkit available on its website.