Upper Crust, the bankrupt gourmet pizza chain accused of exploiting workers as it expanded across the region, owes employees about $850,000 in back wages and damages, according to court records filed by the US Department of Labor.
A federal investigation of pay practices at Upper Crust between April 2009 and January 2011 found the company violated minimum-wage and overtime laws and failed to pay 67 employees roughly $425,000 during that period.
Upper Crust owes an equal amount in damages, as well as $37,000 in civil penalties, according to the proof of claim filed last week in US Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts.
The government notified Upper Crust founder Jordan Tobins of its findings in August 2011 and spent more than a year trying to come to an agreement with the chain on payments and penalties. But the business, with 176 employees, sought bankruptcy protection in October after facing persistent labor problems, financial troubles, and ownership disputes.
Upper Crust has 16 locations left after four restaurants shut down in the past year.
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