American pizza restaurant chain pays $363,284 in back pay for overtime violations

Pizza restaurants

Four pizza restaurants operating as part of American chain Gina La Fornarina, as well as its owner Paola Pedrignani, have been ordered to pay $363,284 (£275,541.83) in back pay and liquidated damages for overtime and record keeping violations.

An investigation and federal court trial conducted by the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division found that Pedrignani and the four Gina La Fornarina branches had failed to comply with overtime and record keeping requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The investigation found that the pizza restaurants had failed to aggregate hours for overtime purposes when employees worked across multiple operating sites or performed two different roles at the same location in the same workweek, with employees receiving separate pay checks for work performed at each location. Gina La Fornarina also paid certain kitchen staff and pizza chefs on a salaried basis without paying overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.

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Following a bench trial, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that these violations were wilful. The organisation and Pedrignani were ordered to pay 109 affected employees $363,284 (£275,541.83) in back pay and damages. The full amount has now been paid, as well as court costs and post-judgement interest.

David An, district director, New York City at the Wage and Hour Division, said: “The US Department of Labor works to ensure that employees receive all the wages they have rightfully earned and that employers can compete on a level playing field. We encourage employers and employees to review the many tools and resources the Division provides to explain their rights and responsibilities under the law.”

Jeffrey S Rogoff, regional solicitor of labor in New York, added: “This case reinforces employers’ obligations to comply with overtime and record keeping requirements and to make certain that employees are paid all the money they are legally owed. Employers should review their pay practices and correct any that fail to comply with the law.”

Gina La Fornarina was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.