CT Labor Department Shuts Down New Haven Restaurants for Workplace Violations


Wethersfield, CT (WorkersCompensation.com) - Acting upon a complaint from a former worker, the Department of Labor today shut down two New Haven restaurants for a variety of workplace violations, including misclassification of workers as independent contractors, failure to maintain payroll records, and not paying the proper minimum wage or overtime.

According to State Labor Commissioner Sharon M. Palmer, the agency's Wage and Workplace Standards Division issued Stop Work Orders at two locations housing restaurants operated by Chang Cho of Woodbridge. The restaurants, both known as Gourmet Heaven, are located at 15 Broadway and 44 Whitney Avenue. According to Palmer, the investigation found that 15 people working the first shift were being treated as independent contractors, rather than as employees of the business, and the employer could not provide payroll or time records. Interviews with the workers revealed that they were working overtime without the correct compensation, receiving cash payments, and in many cases were paid less than the minimum wage.

“This is a case where an employer is taking unfair advantage of his employees and also cheating the state by not paying the proper taxes or providing worker protections, such as   unemployment insurance and workers' compensation,” noted Palmer. “When this takes place, we all lose.”

According to Gary Pechie, director of the Wage and Workplace Standards Division, investigators have determined some of the employees have worked at the restaurants for between two and four years, and interviews indicate the violations have taken place during this timeframe.

“Although we are still in the process of this investigation, fines could be in the tens of thousands of dollars, based on the fact that it is a $300 fine alone for each week an employee is working while not on the payroll,” Pechie said. “Almost every violation that was possible for us to find, we found, and this is unfortunate for the workers who were not paid fairly for the hours that they worked.”

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