Bay Area Restaurants Cited for Wage Theft, Fined More Than $224K

                               

San Francisco, CA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Three San Francisco-area restaurants have been cited and forced to pay back wages of nearly a quarter-of-a-million dollars. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division conducted a lengthy investigation and said the employers willfully violated the minimum wage, record keeping, and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In addition to the $224,465 owed in back wages to 25 employees, the WHD also fined the parent company $18,621 in civil penalties for what it said was the intentional nature of the violations, and for a child labor recordkeeping violation.

The restaurants are operated and owned by Anthony LoForte Sr., Anthony Lo Forte Jr., and Sherry LoForte.

Investigators found that the restaurants Zio Fraedo’s located in Pleasant Hill and Vallejo, and Zio’s Pasta Pronto in Pinole, did not pay their employees for all the hours they worked, resulting in minimum wage violations by the Pleasant Hill location. The WHD also said many employees were being paid for their overtime hours in cash, off the records and at regular pay rates, rather than the time-and-a-half required. 

A DOL spokesperson told WorkersCompensation.com that the WHD conducts investigationa for numerous reasons, all having to do with assuring an employer’s compliance as well as with enforcement of the laws. The investigation of the restaurant enterprise covered a period of three years from January 2016 to January 2019. Before this investigation the three restaurants had no prior inquiries..

“Employers must understand they are responsible to pay employees all the wages they have legally earned,” said San Francisco WHD Assistant District Director Alberto Raymond, in a press release. “Willful violations like those found in this investigation will not be tolerated. The U.S. Department of Labor provides many tools to help employers comply with the law, and we encourage employers and employees alike to contact us for assistance. We will continue our work to level the playing field for employers, and to ensure workers are paid what they have earned.”

All of three restaurant owners have agreed to pay the civil money penalties as well as the back wages.


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