LI restaurants pay $1M to settle suit

According to a news report from newsday.com, “Five Long Island restaurants, one of them diagonally across from the U.S. Labor Department in Westbury, have agreed to pay a total of about $1 million to settle a department lawsuit claiming they failed to pay 192 employees overtime.”

“The lawsuit follows an investigation by the department’s Westbury office, which found that for about two years beginning on Sept. 29, 2004, the restaurants failed to pay overtime to counter people, busboys, dishwashers and cooks who worked as many as 60 hours some weeks,” said the story. “The agreement, which the department announced Tuesday, requires the restaurants and the operators to pay $966,000 to current and former employees and $15,000 in civil penalties. Federal labor laws require companies to pay eligible employees one and one-half times their hourly wage, when they work more than 40 hours a week.”

“The department has made an intensive effort to protect low-wage workers who may not know their legal rights under the federal labor laws,” said the Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao in a statement. Most of the workers are Hispanic immigrants,” according to the story. “After the investigation, the department in June sued the five restaurants separately and the operators in U.S. District Court in Central Islip. The restaurants are La Piazza restaurants in Merrick and Plainview and Mama Theresa’s restaurants in Westbury, East Meadow and New Hyde Park.”

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