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Feds Stick Up for the Little Guy and Ohio Employee Rights

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Akron, OHAnyone burned by an employer attempting to circumvent Ohio Labor Laws can take solace in the fact that even an employer who closes shop and attempts to shield oneself from responsibility, is not immune to prosecution after the fact. To that end, even the federal government is involved in an attempt to secure back wages and overtime for a group of former employees of a now-closed restaurant in Akron.

The Ohio employment lawsuit was filed last month in US District Court in Akron and targets the owners of the former Brown Derby Roadhouse, a once-popular eatery that used to operate just outside the Chapel Hill Mall on Brittain Road in Akron. And even though the establishment has been closed for some months, it hasn’t prevented the feds and others from pursuing back wages and other remedies under Ohio Labor Employment Law.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal (3/6/14), an investigation by the US Department of Labor determined various labor violations under Ohio Employment Law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) with regard to minimum wage, overtime, record-keeping protocols and even child labor violations.

Eighteen former employees of the now-closed restaurant are affected. According to the investigation, some employees were not paid wages, while others were required by the owners to pay a fee in order to work at the facility.

The Ohio employee rights investigation also uncovered the fact that an employee under the age of 18 was required to operate a trash compactor, which is in violation of child labor laws.

Even though the restaurant is now closed, the lawsuit is attempting to recover $24,199 in unpaid wages, together with $23,472 in civil damages from Brown Derby Roadhouse. It was also reported by the Beacon Journal that the former Brittain Road establishment is also being pursued by other parties over the alleged nonpayment of funds for various goods and services - this, according to filings from last year in Summit County Court of Common Pleas.

The feds, for their part, are not only seeking back wages and civil damages from Brown Derby Roadhouse, they are also seeking to permanently prevent defendants CPS Foods Ltd. and owner/managers Gillian Harris and Gary Harris from further FLSA violations.

The Ohio Employee rights lawsuit was filed in early March at US District Court in Akron.

Meanwhile, on a larger scale, KeyBank NA will be required to ante up $3.5 million in order to settle a punitive class and collective action alleging misclassification of various customer service employees, in an alleged effort to avoid paying them overtime. The misclassification is in violation of FLSA as well as Ohio State Employment law, for those employees working at branches located in Ohio.

According to the lawsuit, filed in February of last year, KeyBank NA failed to undertake analyses of individual employees and their particular duties and job function before classifying them as exempt, or not, from overtime provisions. The defendant was also accused of failing to maintain proper payroll records, and also failure to record all the time an employee worked.

According to court records, the settlement applies to client service managers who worked at KeyBank NA in Ohio - who are covered under Ohio employment labor law - and other states, from February 4, 2010 through to April 20th of last year. That lawsuit is Nicholas Clem et al. v. KeyBank N.A., case number 1:13-cv-00789, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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