Gone But Not Forgotten: Not Your Average Joe's Owes Back Wages
Reports: A U.S. Labor Department initiative has found 34 Boston-area restaurants, including Not Your Average Joe's former Lexington location, owe more than $1.3 million in back wages due to 478 underpaid Massachusetts employees.
Not Your Average Joe’s closed its Lexington Center location back in 2009, but the erstwhile eatery still landed on a list of 34 Boston-area restaurants that owe more than $1.3 million in back wages to nearly 500 employees, the Boston Globe reported last week.
A total of 15 Not Your Average Joe’s locations, six Science Partners restaurants and a dozen others were identified in a press release detailing an ongoing enforcement initiative conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor focused on the restaurant industry in Massachusetts. The initiative has “uncovered significant violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act,” the press release stated.
According to George A. Rioux, the division’s district director in Boston, the investigations found restaurants welched on overtime payments by paying flat salaries for all hours worked, failing to combine hours worked at multiple locations, paying incorrect overtime rates to tipped employees, among other things. As well, investigators found an emerging trend of misclassifying restaurant workers as independent contractors to skirt minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements, Rioux said in the press release.
From the press release:
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as time and one-half their regular rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.
"The restaurant industry employs some of our country's lowest paid workers, who are vulnerable to exploitation," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "In response to the extensive level of noncompliance we discovered, we will expand our efforts to bring the industry into compliance to ensure that employees receive the minimum wage and overtime wages required by law."
Not Your Average Joe’s formerly occupied 1727 Mass Ave., the current home of nourish restaurant, which opened its doors in July 2009.
For more information about the enforcement initiative, check out the full press release on the Department of Labor’s website.