A federal investigation has determined that Upper Crust,
a bankrupt gourmet pizza chain, owes former employees about $850,000 in back
wages and damages. In 2009, the Department of Labor investigated Upper Crust's
refusal to pay its workers overtime and ordered the company to pay $350,000 in
unpaid overtime. After Upper Crust paid the employees, top executives reduced
the employees' wages and threatened to fire them if they did not return the
federally-mandated compensation. This motivated five employees to file suit in
2010 and resulted in a second investigation by the Labor Department. That
second investigation determined that between April 2009 and January 2011, Upper
Crust failed to pay $425,000 it owed to 67 employees in overtime and compliance
with the minimum wage act.
An agency spokesperson, Ted Fitzgerald, said, "The
department has been engaged in protracted settlement negotiations with the parties
involved in an attempt to resolve the matter and recover back wages and
liquidated damages for the workers."
Upper Crust filed bankruptcy in October 2012 at the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts. In addition to the money Upper Crust owes in
back wages, its bankruptcy filings indicate that it owes $37,000 in civil
penalties. The Labor Department is the largest unsecured creditor in this
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