For Immediate Release - November 10, 2011

Former Owner of Woburn Restaurant Arraigned for Violating the State’s Wage and Hour Laws

WOBURN - The former owner of a Woburn restaurant has been arraigned for allegedly violating the Commonwealth’s wage and hour laws, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.  Lynne A. Howell, 50, of Woburn, former owner of La Stanza Diva Ristorante, was arraigned on charges of Failure to Pay Wages (3 counts), and Failure to Provide Suitable Pay Stub Record (3 counts). 

According to authorities, Howell failed to pay three of her employees wages for work they performed at the restaurant and failed to provide the three employees with pay stubs.

The Attorney General’s Office began an investigation in March of 2009, after a former employee filed a nonpayment of wage complaint with the Fair Labor Division.  In August 2009, the Fair Labor Division issued a civil citation against Howell and La Stanza Diva Ristorante for failure to pay timely wages in the amount of $1,650 and a penalty in the amount of $500.  A penalty for failure to produce records for inspection in the amount of $1,000 was also assessed. 

While the citation was under appeal by Howell, the Fair Labor Division received complaints from two additional employees in November 2009, alleging that Howell failed to pay them their wages.

Under Massachusetts law, employers must pay employees within six days of the termination of the pay period. Employers must provide a pay stub with proper information, including rates of pay and legal deductions.

Howell was arraigned yesterday in Woburn District Court at which time she pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance.  Howell is due back in court on December 16, for a pre-trial hearing.  Judge Marianne C. Hinkle presided over the arraignment.

The Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division is responsible for enforcing the Commonwealth’s wage and hour laws.  Workers who feel that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to call the Office’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465.  More information about the state’s wage and hour laws is also available in multiple languages at the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights website  

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Lillian Hirales, and was investigated by Investigator Elizabete Valadao, both of Attorney General Coakley’s Fair Labor Division.