WESTBURY N.Y. Five Long Island restaurant operators agreed to pay nearly $1 million to settle a labor lawsuit claiming they failed to pay 192 employees for working overtime hours.
The settlement, a consent decree stating that the defendants neither admit nor deny guilt, followed a two-year investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Westbury, N.Y., office. The agreement calls for the five operators to pay $966,000 to current and former employees and $15,000 in civil penalties. Federal labor laws require companies to pay eligible employees one-and-a-half times their hourly wage when they work more than 40 hours a week.
The restaurateurs — Anthony and Louis Branchinelli, Michael D’Abruzzo, Mauro Gallo, Fortunato and Marco Nicotra, and Franco Giambanco — were accused of failing to pay overtime to counter people, cooks, dishwashers and busboys, who worked up to 60 hours some weeks at the restaurants. The operations involved were La Piazza restaurants in Merrick and Plainview, and Mama Theresa's restaurants in Westbury, East Meadow and New Hyde Park.
Most of the workers were Hispanic.