Legal directive mandates Connecticut sports pub and proprietor to compensate $359,000 for punitive actions towards staff members.

A federal court has ruled that a Milford sports bar and its owner must pay a total of $359,485 to employees for violating federal laws that protect against retaliation. The U.S. Department of Labor conducted investigations and filed a lawsuit against Milford Sports Bars LLC, also known as Champions Grill and Bar, and its owner Loren Drotos, for violating the anti-retaliation provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The court found that in January 2022, the employers threatened an employee who requested their earned compensation and unlawfully terminated employees who participated in an inspection by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The court also found that the employers attempted to intimidate employees from engaging in protected activities and cooperating with federal investigators by sending a message that they should not speak to the department. The court ordered the employers to pay $6,770 in back pay, $2,715 in withheld wages, $125,000 in emotional distress damages, and $225,000 in punitive damages to the affected employees. The court also prohibited the employers from future violations of the anti-retaliation provisions of the FLSA and OSH Act. The Regional Solicitor of Labor in Boston, Maia Fisher, stated that employers who subject their workers to unlawful conduct, such as unsafe working conditions, unpaid wages, and threats of retaliation, are violating multiple federal employment laws. She also emphasized that the Department of Labor will not tolerate such behavior and will take a holistic approach to vindicating workers’ rights. The Wage and Hour Division Northeast Regional Administrator in Philadelphia, Mark H. Watson, Jr., added that the employers’ actions of threatening an employee for requesting their earned wages and firing workers for speaking to an OSHA inspector are clear violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and put employees at risk. This ruling serves as a reminder to employers that retaliation against workers can have costly consequences.  

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