MANCHESTER, N.H — Bread and Roses Bakery Inc., an Ogunquit, Maine-based bake shop offering cakes, bread and pastries, has agreed to pay nearly $95,000 in back wages and penalties as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor.
The D.O.L. said it found the company violated terms of the H-2B nonimmigrant visa program under the Immigration and Nationality Act and the minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (F.L.S.A.).
As part of the settlement, Bread and Roses will pay $73,115 in back wages and damages to employees, and $21,052 in penalties.
According to the D.O.L., Bread and Roses failed to recruit American workers before hiring foreign workers, paid 45 employees straight time for overtime, and employed one minor in violation of the hours’ restrictions applicable to 14- and 15-year-old employees. Additionally, the bakery hired 21 employees to work as counter attendants, but actually employed many of them as bakers, violating job classification rules, the D.O.L. said.
“This case highlights our commitment to protecting U.S. workers by ensuring that employers provide them the best opportunity for employment before using nonimmigrant visa programs,” said Daniel Cronin, director of the D.O.L.’s Wage and Hour Division Northern New England District.
Mary Breen, the owner of the bakery, told the Portland Press Herald that her business sometimes has trouble finding seasonal workers and worked with an employment agency for a short period to bring in foreign workers on the temporary visas.“Unfortunately, the bakery was not well advised, and this resulted in a Department of Labor audit,” she said. “Although I did not agree with much of their findings, as a small business, it was far less expensive for me to settle this matter than to litigate this issue with the federal government. As an aside, it seems to me, that at this time in history, the federal government should have bigger fish to fry than hounding a purveyor of whoopie pies on the coast of Maine.”