A federal investigation has determined that Upper Crust, a bankrupt gourmet pizza chain, owes former employees about $850,000 in back wages and damages. In 2009, the Department of Labor investigated Upper Crust’s refusal to pay its workers overtime and ordered the company to pay $350,000 in unpaid overtime. After Upper Crust paid the employees, top executives reduced the employees’ wages and threatened to fire them if they did not return the federally-mandated compensation. This motivated five employees to file suit in 2010 and resulted in a second investigation by the Labor Department. That second investigation determined that between April 2009 and January 2011, Upper Crust failed to pay $425,000 it owed to 67 employees in overtime and compliance with the minimum wage act.
An agency spokesperson, Ted Fitzgerald, said, “The department has been engaged in protracted settlement negotiations with the parties involved in an attempt to resolve the matter and recover back wages and liquidated damages for the workers.”
Upper Crust filed bankruptcy in October 2012 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts. In addition to the money Upper Crust owes in back wages, its bankruptcy filings indicate that it owes $37,000 in civil penalties. The Labor Department is the largest unsecured creditor in this bankruptcy proceeding.
The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive nationwide wage and hour practicerepresenting employees whose rights have been violated, including nonpayment of wages and denial of overtime pay.