A sports bar called Champions Grill and Bar, previously situated in Milford, New Haven County, has been ordered by the US Department of Labor to compensate its employees a sum of $359,485. This payment includes back pay, emotional distress damages, withheld compensation, and punitive damages. The bar was found to be in violation of provisions outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act and Occupational Safety and Health Act. The announcement was made on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
In February 2022, the Department filed a lawsuit against the business and its owner, Loren Drotos, who is also known as Mark Roberts, Mark Drotos, and Mark Lawrence. The order stems from this lawsuit.
In January 2022, the company allegedly threatened an employee who requested their rightful compensation and wrongfully terminated employees who took part in an OSHA inspection, as claimed in the lawsuit.
According to officials, the business not only terminated employees for exercising their federally protected rights but also sent a message to remaining workers, instructing them not to communicate with anyone from the Department of Labor.
The business has closed down following the occurrence of these allegations.
The court affirmed the veracity of these allegations and, on Friday, December 15, issued an order compelling the business to compensate the affected employees with the following payments:
- $6,770 in back pay;
- $2,715 in withheld wages;
- $125,000 in emotional distress damages;
- $225,000 in punitive damages.
The business is also prevented from committing future violations of federal law.
“Multiple federal employment laws are being violated by employers who expose their employees to a range of unlawful conduct, including hazardous working conditions, unpaid wages, and the threat of retaliation,” stated Maia Fisher, the Regional Solicitor of Labor in Boston.
Fisher emphasized, “The U.S. Department of Labor’s decision to grant $225,000 in punitive damages and a total of $359,000 in damages is a strong statement that the department will not tolerate such misconduct. This comprehensive approach to protecting workers’ rights serves as a stern warning to employers that retaliating against employees can result in significant financial repercussions.”