Forty-two New Jersey food service employees are to receive nearly $111,000 in back pay following an investigation into wage violations by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The department’s Division of Wage & Hour Compliances got on the case after an employee filed a wage complaint against the employer, Thyme Food Services L.L.C., operating as Berry Creek Café in three locations: Moonachie, Secaucus, and Edison. The investigation found employees working at multiple locations but not being paid overtime for working more than 40 hours a week, and some who were paid a portion of their wages off the books. A self-audit by the company showed it owed $110,603.38 to the underpaid workers, ranging from a high of $18,898.34 to a low of $15.
The issue of “wage theft” currently is very much in the department’s sights, with a new state law having just been signed this week. That law toughens penalties and includes potential jail time for employers who commit the worst offenses.
“When New Jersey workers are denied overtime or paid off the books, they are deprived of fair wages. Our society improves when employers play by the rules, and treat every employee fairly,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said.
As well as having to shell out the back pay, the company was assessed $11,060.34 in fees and $20,000 in penalties.