Federal Judge Finds San Rafael Restaurant Committed Wage Violations and Intimidated Employees

A federal jury in San Francisco returned a verdict against the Seafood Peddler of San Rafael restaurant and its owner, Alphonse Silvestri, finding they retaliated against immigrant kitchen workers who complained about wage violations, a U.S. Department of Labor spokesman said.

After the verdict in mid-September, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick ordered the restaurant and Silvestri to pay six kitchen workers $185,000 in back wages and damages, according to Benjamin Botts, the attorney with the Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor.

Botts said the kitchen workers were paid $8 an hour, worked 60 to 75 hours a week and were not paid overtime after 40 hours a week as required under federal labor laws.

Silvestri and the restaurant fired several workers who complained about the wage violations, threatened the workers with physical violence and told them he would contact immigration officials, Botts said.

The workers were told to lie about their wages when the Department of Labor investigated the claims, Botts said.

The offenses occurred between Jan. 7, 2009 and July 11, 2011, and the civil complaint against the restaurant and Silvestri was filed in mid-2012, Botts said.

Silvestri’s attorney Mattaniah Eytan declined to comment on the verdict and judge’s order.

Botts said the Seafood Peddler of San Rafael has closed. Another Seafood Peddler restaurant has opened in Sausalito and is being operated by a different corporation, Botts said.

James Lanaras, Bay City News

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