An Indian restaurant and banquet hall in Garden City, N.Y., will pay $285,800 in back wages and liquidated damages to 24 workers to resolve allegations it violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Additionally, Akbar Restaurant & Caterer will fork over $24,200 in civil penalties.
According to investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, the establishment paid kitchen workers, dishwashers and banquet servers a fixed weekly wage regardless of how many hours they worked. As a result, the employees received no overtime pay, and some workers actually earned less than the minimum wage.
The employer also kept several sets of pay records.
WHD investigators also allege the company retaliated against workers who cooperated with the investigation. In one case,withheld an employee’s paycheck when he refused to sign a false affidavit.
The WHD obtained a court order barring the company from threatening employees who talk to investigators and also forced the employer to permit a statement of employee rights read to employees in the workplace.
Note: When it comes to federal investigations, stubbornness is expensive. And threats of retaliation against employees only make matters worse. Had the company simply admitted making mistakes, the cost would have been less than half what it paid.