Chateau Briand settles wage charges

Because of a contempt charge, Chateau Briand not Because of a contempt charge, Chateau Briand not only has to pay back wages of $230,000 to 88 employees but it also has to pay $25,000 for the cost of the latest investigation and the litigation associated with it. (Feb. 20, 2013) Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

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Chateau Briand, a Carle Place catering hall, has been ordered to pay $278,000 to settle charges that it failed for a second time to pay workers minimum wages and overtime, the U.S. Labor Department said Wednesday.

A federal judge ordered the caterer to pay the new sum after finding it in contempt for violating a 2005 settlement with the department. Because of the contempt charge, Chateau Briand not only has to pay back wages of $230,000 to 88 employees but it also has to pay $25,000 for the cost of the latest investigation and the litigation associated with it. It also has to pay $23,000 in interest. And the catering facility, part of Scotto Bros. Restaurants Inc., has to hire an independent monitor to check for compliance for two years.

The department's Westbury office conducted both investigations. As part of its restaurant initiative launched in 2011, the office has sought stiffer penalties for wage violators, especially repeat violators.

"We used all of our available tools and resources to pursue a repeat offender who has not maintained compliance despite a prior consent judgment," Irv Miljoner, who heads the Westbury office, said of the latest case.

Neither the catering facility's officers nor its attorney returned repeated phone calls seeking comment. In a settlement a defendant neither admits nor denies the charges.

In the latest case, the local office said Chateau Briand failed to pay overtime and minimum wage to kitchen employees, including dishwashers, prep cooks and cooks, when they worked as many as 59 hours a week. It also said the business underreported employees' hours and paid them a set amount regardless of the extra hours they worked.

Federal labor law requires employers to pay hourly workers at least $7.25 an hour, also the minimum in New York State, and one and one-half their regular hourly rate when they work more than 40 hours a week.

In 2005, Chateau Briand agreed to pay nearly $176,000 in back wages to 408 workers to settle the department's charges of wage violations.

Workers who believe they are covered by the settlement should call the Labor Department at 516-338-1890.

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