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Pizza chain Manny & Olga’s accused of wage theft

By Peter Levine posted in Employment Law, Unpaid Overtime on October 2nd, 2013

Claims of illegally low pay

Jose Luis Ormeno, a former kitchen worker at pizza chain Manny & Olga’s has filed a lawsuit that accuses his employer of wage theft. Ormeno is claiming long hours and illegally low pay while working at the late-night takeout chain.

The suit, filed in federal court, alleges Ormeno was cheated out of more than $12,000 in pay. According to Ormeno, for the first six months of his employment, he worked an average of 81 hours per week for a mere $5.32 per hour, nearly $3 below the D.C. minimum wage of $8.25.

Ormeno claims that regardless of how many hours he worked he was paid a flat rate of $420 and later $360 per week. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most hourly workers are entitled by law to minimum wage as well as time-and-a-half for overtime worked over 40 hours per week. Ormeno says in the lawsuit that later on in his employment at the chain he earned the legal D.C. wage of $8.25 per hour, but that rate was paid only for “straight time.”

Unpaid overtime exceeds $5,000

According to the lawsuit his overtime claims for a six-month period alone amount to more than $5,000.

The lawsuit states, “Plaintiff complained to Defendants about his excessive work hours and the manner in which he was paid… “Plaintiff has made
Defendants aware that they are in violation of the FLSA; however, Defendants refused to respond.”

In addition to the $12,286.79 he’s seeking in back pay, Ormeno is also asking for $24,573.58 in damages.

San Francisco Giants Pay Thousands in Back Wages

By Peter Levine posted in Employment Law, Unpaid Overtime on September 10th, 2013

Violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act

Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants have paid nearly $545,000 in back wages and damages to 74 clubhouse and administrative employees for violations of minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping laws after the Department of Labor investigated the team’s practices regarding pay for their clubhouse and administrative workers.

The investigation from the Wage and Hour Division found that, over three-year time period, the team violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping laws.

The employment agreement for clubhouse workers stipulated that they would make $55 for working 5.5 hours a day. According to the investigation they were actually working 12 to 15 hours.

It was found that the club also improperly classified some employees in a way that enabled them to avoid paying overtime. And they failed to pay overtime, or paid too little overtime to some administrative staffer.

“I am encouraged that the Giants acted to resolve this issue, but it was disappointing to learn that clubhouse workers providing services to high-paid sports stars weren’t making enough to meet the basic requirements of minimum-wage law,” Susana Blanco, the director of the San Francisco District Office of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, said in a statement.

“The San Francisco Giants worked cooperatively with the Department of Labor in conducting a comprehensive review of our payroll records to identify and address any possible issues of concern,” said Staci Slaughter, a spokeswoman for the Giants. “The matter was resolved and reported on several months ago.”

The Giants entered into an agreement with the DOL to ensure future compliance with the law. The DOL will also work with Major League Baseball to ensure that all other teams are complying with these laws.

This settlement comes at a prominent time for wage theft issues. Claims of wage theft have increased 400 percent since 2000. More than two-thirds of low-income workers have experienced wage theft violations according to a 2009 report.

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