South Boston pizza place has to pay $232,000 in back wages

The owner of Village Pizza and Grill, 56 L St., has agreed to pay back wages to workers not paid time and a half for working overtime - or sometimes at all - and to pay fines for letting teens work excessive hours and sometimes with hazardous equipment.

US District Court Judge Leo Sorokin today signed a consent order to end a suit by the US Department of Labor against Klaundjon Totoni and the restaurant.

The Labor Department sued them last year on behalf of workers, including delivery drivers, some of whom had to spend 30 minutes at the end of their shifts cleaning the restaurant without getting paid and others who had to shop for the restaurant before the start of their shift, also without payment. In its suit, the department added one driver was never paid at all for the 29 hours he worked in his last week there. Also:

[A] counter employee worked approximately fifty-five (55) hours per week during the weeks between September 19, 2014 and September 16, 2016 and was not paid the overtime premium for hours over 40 per week. Another example is a delivery driver who worked approximately seventy-two (72) hours per week during the time period between September 19, 2014 and September 16, 2016 and was not paid the overtime premium for hours over 40 per week.

The government also alleged Totoni lied to investigators - claiming one worker was his father (he was not) and that he did not employ anybody under 19:

[D]uring the approximate period between April 29, 2016 and July 29, 2016, the defendants allowed a seventeen (17) year old employee use a dough mixer approximately once per day in violation of 29 CFR 570.82. Defendants, during the approximate period between May 6, 2016 and July 29, 2016, allowed a fifteen (15) year old employee use a meat slicer in violation of 29 CFR 570.33(e) and a dough mixer in violation of 29 CFR 570.82. Defendants also during the same approximate period allowed a fifteen (15) year old employee to work more than eight (8) hours and after 9:00 pm in the summer, and more than eighteen (18) hours a week during a school week., in violation of 29 CFR 570.35(a).

In addition to the $231,683 in back wages - and the taxes for them - Totoni agreed to pay $16,634 in fines for the child-labor violations and $8,317 in fines for the wage violations. He also has to hire a consultant to develop a formal bookkeeping system for tracking workers' hours and pay.

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Comments

slimebag

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n/t

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Voting is closed. 27

???

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Who do I speak to because I had a similar issue with my employer

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Voting is closed. 10

Not Maura Healey, apparently

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Looks like this one was executed by the Feds.

Guessing AG Healey was too busy suing Trump and issuing de facto gun laws to bother.

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Voting is closed. 25

Soapbox Aside

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This is an issue you can reasonably go to the state or the federal government. The AG has a Fair Labor Division, and the US Dept of Labor has the Wages and Hours Division. Google should get you what you need to start, but don't hesitate to ask if you need contact info

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Village Pizza

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I used to frequent this business until now. This is inexcusable. The owner has a decent business. This was nothing other than greed.

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Voting is closed. 37

While I do not know the details about this case...

having investigated companies over the years for wage and salary violations, this sort of thing is far less unique than some might belief.

One particular trend I have seen of those that commit such violations, their actions are rarely limited to a "one off" disregard for the law. Often when investigating a complaint about one issue, I found other issues (violations) equally compelling. In order words, those employers willing violate one pay law often are violating other pay laws as well.

Another trend I have observed is that employees frequently "sense" they are being screwed but a) are not quite sure what the violation is, b) don't know who to complain to and c) worry they will lose their job if they complain.

Some of the typical schemes some employees use include:

Untimely payment of wages - Employees who work overtime must receive their overtime pay in the same pay cycle in which the overtime hours were worked. Overtime payments cannot be delayed into the next pay cycle or paid on a monthly basis.

Failure to pay wages upon termination - An employer must pay on the final day of employment all wages owed to an employee who is terminated or laid off.

Mischaracterization of employees as exempt (salaried) or nonexempt (hourly) - Massachusetts also has its own statutory list of employees who are exempt from minimum wage and overtime laws. Oftentimes companies categorize all of their employees as exempt from overtime laws, but in reality, the law is designed to have most employees be eligible for overtime pay.

Failure to pay overtime - employees who are eligible for overtime pay must be paid one and a half times their regular rate for every hour worked after 40 hours. Oftentimes, an employer will violate the overtime laws because the employer believes overtime pay is already incorporated in the employee's salary OR employers create scenarios regarding how the calculate when the employee has reached the 40 hour threshold.

Misclassification of employees - employers often attempt to avoid the requirements of the wage and hour laws by classifying individuals as independent contractors when indicia state that they are employees.

Improperly taking deductions from wages = some employers deduct from employees' wages payments for, among other things, damage or losses to company property, monies stolen or embezzled from the company, school tuition, moving expenses and educational benefits. Many of these deductions are unlawful - courts have determined the these types of policies often are an invalid setoff against the employee's wages because the company made itself the sole arbiter of the damage assessments, there was no appeal process for the employee and the damage assessment was not a "clear and established debt."

Unlawful prepayment of wages - an employer therefore cannot pay a week, two weeks or a month in advance to avoid the timely payment of wages requirements

Failure to pay earned vacation time - frequently, an employer believes it can refuse to pay earned vacation pay or establish a policy that requires employees to forfeit earned vacation time. Vacation time accrued or earned "under an oral or written agreement" with the employer is treated like wages under Massachusetts law, giving employees the same statutory rights to pursue vacation time owed to them that they have for their hourly pay or salary.

Mischaracterization of commissions as bonuses - A commission is compensation earned for services performed for selling a product or company service. A bonus is performance-based compensation in addition to the employee's salary. Like vacation pay, Massachusetts recognizes earned commissions as wages. Once an employee earns a commission, the employer must pay the commission to the employee. Commissions are often mischaracterized as bonuses, which are not wages under the law and not statutorily required to be paid.

In short, and unfortunately, there are employers ought there that work around pay laws with a whole slew of unlawful acts.

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Voting is closed. 21

Village

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Great pizza, and the haddock plate is to die for!!!

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Voting is closed. 14

Good food

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Their chicken and french fries dinner with white dipping sauce is similar to the closed Fish Pier Restaurant version.

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Voting is closed. 7