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Wage and Hour Law: Connecticut Regulators Recover Nearly $80,000 for Restaurant Workers

On October 15th, 2021, the Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) announced the results of an eight-month-long wage and hour investigation into the practices of Vazzy’s Restaurant, a family-owned Italian/American restaurant located in Bridgeport. 

The CTDOL found numerous violations and has hit the employer with nearly $100,000 in total sanctions, including $78,900 in back wages and $20,000 in civil fines. Here, our Connecticut wage and hour lawyers discuss the enforcement action brought by the CTDOL. 

CTDOL Founds Many Wage and Hour Violations; 48 Employees Affected

The CTDOL launched an investigation into the wage and hour practices of Vazzy’s Restaurant in Bridgeport, Connecticut after receiving a complaint. In total, four dozen employees were affected by the restaurant’s failure to follow all applicable state and federal wage and hour laws. The employer has been cited for the following wage and hour violations by state regulators: 

  • Failure to Keep Adequate Employee Time Records: Under state and federal regulations, employers are required to keep certain time records for hourly employees. When they fail to do so, it is difficult to determine if a worker was actually paid properly for the full hours that they worked. 
  • Failure to Pay a State-Mandated Minimum Wage: The CTDOL found that the employer failed to pay the state-mandated minimum wage to some workers. Connecticut’s minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage. As of 2021, the state has a $13.00 per hour minimum wage for most employees. 
  • Failure to Pay Overtime Wages: The Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guarantees overtime pay to non-exempt hourly employees who put in more than 40 hours in a given work week. The Bridgeport, CT restaurant was cited for overtime pay violations. Unfortunately, unpaid overtime remains a serious problem in the restaurant industry. 
  • Failure to Provide Meal Periods: Connecticut has meal break laws in place for workers. Under Sec. 31-51ii, no worker “shall be required to work for seven and one-half or more consecutive hours without a period of at least thirty consecutive minutes for a meal.” The CTDOL found that the Bridgeport restaurant violated this state-based wage and hour regulation.  

As stated previously, the affected employees will receive a collective $78,900 in compensation for back pay. Additionally, the employer is facing a $20,000 fine. Notably, the CTDOL is now conducting a wage and hour investigation into four other Connecticut restaurants owned by the same individual, including one in Stratford, Monroe, Shelton, and Fairfield. 

Schedule Your Confidential Consultation With a Connecticut Wage and Hour Attorney Today

At Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, LLC, our Connecticut wage and hour lawyers have the professional skills and legal expertise to protect the legal rights and financial interests of workers in the restaurant industry. Call us now or contact us online to arrange a confidential review and evaluation of your case. We provide wage and hour representation throughout Connecticut, including in Hartford, New Haven, West Hartford, Manchester, Enfield, Milford, Bridgeport, and Fairfield.