A Medford diner has agreed to pay just over $67,000 to settle federal contempt charges that it again failed to pay its workers minimum wage, in violation of a government settlement reached almost two years ago.
Metropolis Diner also forced employees to give back some of the $43,971 in back wages they received as part of that September 2010 judgment, the U.S. Labor Department said.
As in 2010, the Labor Department said the diner failed to pay employees overtime. Some worked as many as 50 hours a week, taking their weekly pay below the $7.25-an-hour minimum wage. Federal law says that employees must earn at least one and one-half times their average hourly wage for every hour over 40 in a workweek.
The agreement covers the period from September 2010 to Dec. 3, 2011, and includes 18 current and former waiters and kitchen workers. The previous agreement covered 16 workers.
"This employer showed complete disregard for its workers and the court by ignoring the terms of the original judgment and having the employees kick back part of the monies they were entitled to in the first place," said Irv Miljoner, who heads the department's Long Island office. His office conducted the investigations that led to both settlements in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.
He said such kickback demands are uncommon. The company agreed to pay $60,535 in back wages and $7,068 in penalties and interest.
In a settlement a company neither admits nor denies guilt. Andrew Manesis, president of Route 112 Restaurant Corp., which owns the diner, refused to comment when reached by phone Thursday. He is named in the settlement. His lawyer didn't return calls seeking comment.
The local labor office wouldn't say how it became aware of the new, alleged violations. But for the last five years it has conducted a restaurant initiative, focusing on diners this year, Miljoner said.