For Immediate Release - January 10, 2014

West Springfield IHOP to Pay More Than $100,000 to Settle Allegations it Violated Multiple Wage Laws

BOSTON – A West Springfield International House of Pancakes (IHOP) and its owner will pay more than $100,000 in restitution and penalties to settle allegations that it violated multiple wage laws, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. 

“Workers deserve to be paid all of their wages, including tips,” AG Coakley said. “Restaurant employees should not have to front the business costs of the restaurant out of their pay.”

The settlement agreement requires the employers of the West Springfield IHOP location, RME Enterprises and its president and treasurer Robert Max Evans, to pay more than $100,000 in restitution and penalties and to comply with the state’s wage and hour laws.

In November 2010, the AG’s Office began an investigation into the business practices of RME Enterprises in response to a complaint received through the office of Senator Gale D. Candaras. The employee alleged numerous wage violations, which include:

  • Wait staff were required to pay from their tips the full meal costs of customers who left without paying their bills;
  • Wait staff were required to share their tips with non-wait staff;
  • Employees were required to pay from their wages the full meal costs of any meals for which a mistake was alleged to have been made;
  • Employees were required to pay from their wages for “breakages” of dishware, the amount of which was determined by the employer based on dish type;
  • Employees were subject to meal deductions from their wages when no meals were eaten, consent was not given generally, and at times when consent was specifically and affirmatively withheld;
  • Employees’ work time, and thus wages, were “shaved” to account for alleged meal break time, when meal breaks were not taken generally and at times when employees specifically and affirmatively noted they took no break

The complainant further alleged that an employee was terminated on the day she resisted paying out of her tips the full bill of a customer who left without paying.

The above allegations implicate a variety of wage laws, including the Massachusetts Minimum Fair Wage Law, the Wage Act, the Tips Law, and the Anti-Retaliation Law.

As a result of the settlement 174 workers will receive individual amounts ranging from about $40 to more than $1,700, depending upon their length of service at this IHOP. 

The AG’s Office is responsible for enforcing the laws regulating the payment of wages, meal breaks, overtime and misclassification of employees in the Commonwealth. Workers who believe that their rights have been violated are strongly urged to call the AG’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 AG’s Workplace Rights website: www.massworkrights.com.

The matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Kate J. Fitzpatrick and Investigator Leah Lucier, both of AG Coakley’s Fair Labor Division.

 

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