A Connecticut federal court has ordered three bakeries to pay nearly $1 million in back wages and damages to 74 employees to resolve violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The suit was prompted by an investigation by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, which determined the three bakeries — Padaminas NY Bakery II, LLC; Padaminas NY Bakery, LLC; and Padaminas Brazilian Bakery, Inc. – “willfully violated” the FLSA’s overtime requirements.
Specifically, it found the bakeries paid employees who worked more than 40 hours per week straight time rather than time-and-a-half for their overtime hours. The bakeries also failed to comply with recordkeeping requirements, the DOL found.
Expensive mistake: Back wages, damages, penalties
The court ordered the bakeries to pay $476,216.70 in back wages and another $476,216.70 in liquidated damages to the affected employees. It also tacked on another $41,568.33 in civil penalties that will go to the DOL under Section 16(e) of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 21, due to the “willful” nature of the violations.
The court’s order also:
- prohibits the bakeries from violating the FLSA’s overtime and recordkeeping requirements
- requires them to cooperate with the DOL’s FLSA investigations, including providing truthful responses, info and documents to investigators, and
- prohibits them from soliciting employees to “kick back” the wages or damages.
As an FYI, the majority of the affected employees worked as bakers and counter staff. Last year, the food service industry topped the DOL’s Low Wage, High Violation Industries list, with the DOL recovering back wages for 29,209 food service workers. The construction industry took the No. 2 spot (with 21,341 affected workers), and the healthcare industry rounded out the top three (17,079).
The FLSA requires that most employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at not less than time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a single workweek.
Walsh v. Padaminas NY Bakery II, LLC, No. 3:22-cv-00999 (D. Conn. 10/3/22).