WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The U.S. Department of Labor is requesting the recovery of more than $205,000 in back wages and liquidated damages after the department said a Williamsburg restaurant owner intentionally failed to pay 62 employees of overtime pay.
In a press release sent by the department to 8News, the Department of Labor entered an order of consent judgement — or an agreement to pay a portion of what is owed — into Virginia federal court to recover $205,180 in back wages and liquidated damages from Howard Hopkins, the FFT Restaurant Group LLC, operator and owner of Williamsburg restaurant, Food for Thought.
The Department’s Wage and Hour Division conducted an investigation which found that Hopkins paid kitchen staff straight-time rates– or the standard rate of pay which does not include overtime or paid time off– and denied them the overtime rates owed.
“Many restaurant workers struggle to make ends meet and they deserve to be paid for all hours worked,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Roberto Melendez, “Employers who shortchange their employees will be held accountable.”
The investigation also showed Hopkins did not keep an accurate record of hours worked for staff and did not display the federal minimum wage posters which is required according to the department. The press released added the actions presented by Hopkins are in violation of the Fair Labors Standards Act.
The order was sent in on Oct. 4, 2023 and requires the company and Hopkins to pay $102,590 in back wages and an equal amount of liquidated damages along with $50,034 in civil money penalties for the intentionality of the violations committed.
The order also forbids the company as well as Hopkins from future Fair Labor Standards Act violations in the future.