Vinny’s Ale House, a restaurant at 93 Post Road in Fairfield, has been ordered by the U.S. District Court for Connecticut to pay $244,930 in back wages and liquidated damages to eight employees as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.An investigation by the Labor Department division found the business, owned by Ernst H. Buggisch and officially known as Vinny’s of Fairfield Inc., failed to pay required overtime to its back-of-the-house employees when they worked more than 40 hours a week. Federal investigators determined that the company paid its employees in cash at straight time rates and not at the time-and-one-half their regular pay rates required by law.
Vinny’s Ale House also failed to maintain accurate time records, failed to produce records of the cash payments, maintained two sets of time records and provided inaccurate records to investigators. In addition, the Labor Department alleged that the owner intimidated employees during the investigation, coaching them to lie to investigators. The settlement prohibits the defendants from future Fair Labor Standards Act wage, recordkeeping, and retaliation violations.
In the settlement, the company also agreed to pay $2,992 in penalties for violations of the overtime, minimum wage and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“This settlement is about getting these employees the wages they legally earned,” Wage and Hour Division District Director David Gerrain said in a statement. “The division encourages all employers to access the many compliance resources we offer and avoid the liabilities that can come with breaking the law.”