The Department of Labor (DOL) has completed its investigation regarding an overtime wage theft complaint filed by a former employee of 116 Crown-a popular New Haven bar-and it is now in the process of facilitating a discussion between the two parties to determine the timetable for the payment of more than $15,000 found to have been owed.
Edgar Sandoval, who was employed as a dishwasher, accused 116 Crown owner John Ginetti of failing to pay him the $15,000 in overtime. The complaint-filed a little more than a month ago-came with protests from the group Unidad Latina en Accion, (ULA) which picketed outside the establishment twice.
The current settlement offer is for Ginetti to pay Sandoval $1,000 per month for 15 months, but Sandoval says he is not looking to stretch out the process that long.
“That’s $33 a day,” Sandoval said during a phone conversation this week. “It’s gonna take forever. I was like, ‘no, I can’t do that’.”
But Ginetti is unlikely to be able to do anything close to the $4,000 per month that Sandoval is asking for, says DOL Director Gary Pechie.
“We want to get him paid, but we want the restaurant to be able to operate,” Pechie said over the phone on Friday. “It doesn’t do anybody any good if it closes its doors.”
Sandoval can turn it down, but then the matter will be out of the DOL’s hands, Pechie said.
Sandoval worked for 116 Crown on two separate occasions, starting out making $13 an hour before parting ways with the establishment-he says he was terminated but Ginetti claims that he made the decision to leave. Sandoval was later rehired at a $750 weekly salary, and his wage theft complaint covered both of the periods he spent employed at the restaurant/bar.
At a March 21 protest, Sandoval said he worked between 65 and 100 hours per week without receiving overtime.
Salaried employees can only be exempt from overtime laws if they satisfy certain job duty provisions that apply to those in executive, management, or administrative positions, according to Pechie.
Although Ginetti said that he while he accepts the DOL’s findings, he does not agree with them.
“They were very even-handed,” Ginetti said of the DOL during a phone conversation. “They were level-headed and fair. If they found an issue here, that’s totally fine. We disagree that any money was owed, but their decision was unbiased, and we said from the beginning that we’d comply with whatever they felt was necessary.”