2 Fairfield County restaurant owners ordered to pay employees $150K in backpay
Two Fairfield County restaurants and their owners were ordered in federal court to pay employees $150,000 in back wages and liquidated damages, the U.S. Department of Labor says.
Christopher Delmonico – owner of the former Chubby’s in Bridgeport and the co-owner of The Ole Dog Tavern (formerly Lazy Dog Tavern) in Stratford – and Niall O’Neill, co-owner of The Ole Dog Tavern – agreed to pay $137,465 in back wages and liquidated damages over violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements following a Department of Labor investigation.
The department alleges that the restaurant owners threatened workers to force them to kick back approximately $50,000 that the employees were owed. The employers allegedly fired one employee for requesting the full number of back wages and liquidated damages that the division had determined the worker was owed, and threatened employees with blacklisting, termination, and law enforcement and immigration consequences. The employers also allegedly made disparaging comments about an employee to potential future employers and drove two workers to a bank to cash their checks and then demanded payment outside the bank, the Department of Labor says.
The Department of Labor sued the defendants in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in March 2021 and obtained a consent preliminary injunction preventing them from retaliating or discriminating against their employees.
The current consent judgment and order requires the defendants to pay the workers $50,000 in kickbacks they accepted from the workers as well as $90,000 in punitive damages. The employers must also pay $10,000 in back pay to one employee who suffered a retaliatory firing. The order also permanently enjoins the defendants from future violations of the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision.