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Pizza Chain Investigated by DOL for Wage and Hour Violation Allegations

July 22, 2010

In a blog from earlier this week, our Carson, California Wage and Hour Attorneys discussed a recent U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division initiative to investigate low wage industries for federal wage and hour violations. If the DOL performs an audit, businesses are examined to ensure employers are complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and if employer violations are found, businesses are shown how to implement corrective actions to protect employees according to FLSA law.

This week, the DOL is reportedly investigating new allegations of wage and hour violations at the Massachusetts pizza chain, Upper Crust, LLC. Last year, after employees complained to the wage and hour division, the DOL reportedly ordered Upper Crust to pay over $341,000 in a settlement, to around 121 workers, after an investigation found that the low wage workers were not compensated for overtime.

The investigation, which looked at the Upper Crust's pay practices from 2007 to 2009, found that hourly workers were paid for straight time, although many worked more than 40-hours in a week.

Last week two former cooks for the pizza chain filed a lawsuit claiming that Upper Crust took back the overtime settlement payments, ordered by the DOL, by deducting the compensation from their paychecks every week. A former manager reportedly told investigators that employees who received the overtime settlements last year were told that if they kept the checks they would have to quit their jobs, and they could only keep their jobs if they gave back the settlement money by taking a slash in pay.

The manager claimed that the most of the employees were Brazilian immigrants and regularly worked 70 to 80 hours in a single week. He told investigators that after the settlement, the Upper Crust owners engaged in employee misclassification, by changing employee status from hourly staff to salaried employees, so the company could avoid paying overtime, which is against the law.

In Los Angeles County, Orange County and throughout Southern California, our attorneys at Howard Law, PC are committed to representing individuals who have experienced wage and hour violations, employee misclassification, and other violations of California Labor Codes. Contact our Anaheim-based Labor & Employment Attorneys today, for a free consultation about your rights.

US Labor Dept. Investigation Upper Crust Chain, Boston Globe, July 21, 2010

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)