Penalties sought for child labor, repeat wage violations at restaurant and banquet facility
NILES, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to recover back wages for 33 current and former workers of McMenamy’s LLC in Niles, Ohio, operated by Kelly Greens Investment Co. Inc., owner Richard Leonard and general manager Robert Leonard, all named as defendants.
The department also is seeking an equal amount in liquidated damages, as well as civil monetary penalties for the repeated nature of the minimum wage and overtime violations and the child labor violations.
A recent investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that employees of the restaurant and banquet facility were denied minimum wage and overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and employees ages 14 and 15 were required to work beyond the act’s allowable hours. A 2003 investigation of the company disclosed overtime, record-keeping and child labor violations of the FLSA.
“The Labor Department continues to make a concerted effort to protect children and other vulnerable, low-wage workers who may not know their legal rights under federal labor laws. Businesses are obligated to pay their workers fairly and abide by these laws,” said George Victory, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s district office in Columbus. “We have seen continued problems in the restaurant industry. Unfortunately, some employers such as McMenamy’s are repeat violators. We will not hesitate to take the enforcement measures necessary to hold restaurants accountable for protecting children and paying employees their hard-earned wages.”
The investigation covering the period from Sept. 1, 2009, through Aug. 31, 2011, found that the four defendants violated the FLSA by failing to pay required minimum wage and overtime compensation amounting to $3,207 to the 33 employees. Civil monetary penalties sought for the repeat violations amount to $23,141.
Additionally, the company violated the act’s child labor regulations by requiring three employees ages 14 and 15 to work beyond the hours allowed by the FLSA,, often as late as 11 p.m., resulting in child labor civil monetary penalties of $3,130. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds are only permitted to work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9 p.m.
The suit also requests to have Kelly Greens Investment Co. Inc., McMenamy’s and Richard Leonard placed under permanent injunction from violating the provisions of the FLSA in the future.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.