From WHD News Release March 29, 2012:
BOSTON — An ongoing enforcement initiative conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor focused on the restaurant industry in Massachusetts has uncovered significant violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. To date, investigations by the Boston District Office of the department's Wage and Hour Division have found $1,307,808 in back wages due to 478 employees of multiple establishments. In addition, the division now is assessing liquidated damages, payable to employees, when employers are found in violation.
"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."
"Our investigations found that several restaurants violated the FLSA by paying employees flat salaries for all hours worked without overtime pay, failing to combine hours worked at multiple locations for overtime purposes, paying incorrect overtime rates to tipped employees, making illegal deductions from employees' wages and failing to keep accurate records of employees' hours," said George A. Rioux, the division's district director in Boston. "Even more serious, our investigations found an emerging trend of misclassifying restaurant workers as independent contractors in order to avoid minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements of the FLSA."