Mama’s Pizzeria in Copiage will be serving up $780,000 in back pay and liquidated damages to its 40 employees to settle a federal lawsuit.
An investigation by U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour officials found that many of Mama’s employees were forced to work 70 to 80 hours a week without receiving overtime pay. Some were paid in off-the-books cash.
Just as damning, Mama’s owners were unable to produce records of the hours employees worked, their wages, tips and other conditions of work. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to maintain that documentation, and to demonstrate that they’re paying minimum wages and overtime to employees.
In addition to back pay and overtime, the pizzeria’s owners must pay another $20,000 in civil penalties because the violations were willful.
Note: The lack of any record of hours worked was a real smoking gun here. By itself, it proves a willful violation, which means automatic double damages and usually results in a civil fine. Always make sure your records of employee hours worked are up-to-date and accurate.