After an ongoing enforcement initiative centered onMassachusetts’ restaurant industry, the U.S. Department of Labor has found significant violations ofthe minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of theFair Labor Standards Act, and investigations by the Boston DistrictOffice of the DOL's Wage and Hour Division are ordering a paymentof $1,307,808 in back wages to 478 employees of multipleestablishments.

"The restaurant industry employs some of our country'slowest-paid workers who are vulnerable to exploitation," saysSecretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "In response to the extensivelevel of noncompliance we discovered, we will expand our efforts tobring the industry into compliance to ensure that employees receivethe minimum wage and overtime wages required by law."

"Our investigations found that several restaurants violated theFLSA by paying employees flat salaries for all hours worked withoutovertime pay, failing to combine hours worked at multiple locationsfor overtime purposes, paying incorrect overtime rates to tippedemployees, making illegal deductions from employees' wages andfailing to keep accurate records of employees' hours," says GeorgeA. Rioux, district director of the Wage and Hour Division inBoston. "Even more serious, our investigations found an emergingtrend of misclassifying restaurant workers as independentcontractors in order to avoid minimum wage, overtime andrecord-keeping requirements of the FLSA."

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