Department of Labor hits with Chickie’s and Pete’s $8.5 million fine for wage violations

chickies and petes crab fries
Chickie’s and Pete’s waiters serve up crab fries and other specialty dishes. Metro file photo

Chickie’s and Pete’s agreed to pay $6,842,412 to 1,159 employees at nine of the company’s locations for “serious wage violations,” the U.S. Department of Labor announced today. They will also pay $1.68 million to settle federal lawsuits filed by about 90 current and former employees.

It all just started as a tip-skimming lawsuit filed by former Chickie’s and Pete’s bartender Anthony LaPlante, which began to grow as more and more employees of the popular sports bar joined in.

The suit claimed that Chickie’s and Pete’s skirted minimum wage requirements by forcing bartenders and waitstaff to pay two to four percent of their gross sales back to the restaurant in cash, a fee workers allegedly called the “Pete Tax” in reference to owner Pete Ciarrocchi Jr.

Plaintiffs alleged that a manager at each franchise location would collect the “tax” from waitstaff at the shift’s end and that a representative from the corporate office would once a week come and pick up the cash.

Employees who didn’t make enough to cover the tip-out were told by managers to “tap MAC,” or withdraw the money from their personal bank accounts.

Other allegations included that Chickie’s and Pete’s did not allow waitstaff to leave until their carpeted sections were clean, but only provided them with brooms. Therefore, employees were “required to purchase their own Shark vacuum cleaners.”

Servers were forced to pay the bills of “dine and dash” patrons and bartenders to make up for any shortage in their end-of-shift cash till using personal funds. Waiters also had to pay for their own uniforms, and were not paid overtime when working shifts in excess of 10 hours long.

“The egregious actions by Chickie’s & Pete’s harmed real people and violated the promise that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a statement. “Restaurant servers are among the lowest paid workers in this country, with many earning incomes below the poverty line. Tipped workers deserve better and this action shows that the Department of Labor is ready to stand up for them.”

The judgement calls for additional measures beyond the payment, including compliance monitoring for 18 months, training for employees on their labor rights, and clearer communication about the tip pool. Additionally, Ciarrocchi must write an article for a restaurant trade publication that addresses an employer’s obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

____________________

Follow Sam Newhouse on Twitter: @scnewhouse

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…