The U.S. Labor Department “secured nearly $330K in back wages and liquidated damages for 60 employees of restaurants operated by Antico Foods LLC. Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Giovanni DiPalma routinely directed his employees to work as many as 30 hours of overtime per week, yet avoided paying them proper compensation.”
Back in Oct. 2014, Amy Wenk, staff writer for the Atlanta Business Chronicle, first reported that DiPalma, “the owner of a popular wood-fire pizzeria is feeling the heat from federal labor investigators who allege his Atlanta restaurant is run like a sweatshop.”
In an e-mailed statement, Di Palma continued to deny the allegations, despite the settlement for payment of back wages.
“We are happy to get this settlement behind us so we can fully focus on moving forward with our growth strategy. None of the verbal allegations from former employees were proven and we have been fully compliant and transparent throughout the labor audit and are thankful the government was reasonable in our meetings to hear our comments and arrive at a fair settlement . The owners are very pleased the audit made clear that no employee was ever paid below minimum wage as the auditors expressed in their findings. Many other successful restaurants have met the same growing pains, and like those same restaurants, we are thrilled to say we now have a solid foundation to continue our expansion and be fully compliant to our valued staff.”
DiPalma was involved in another legal action in 2012, when he sued Buckhead’s Fuoco di Napoli for knocking-off Antico Pizza’s business model. The location closed not long after the lawsuit.