Mystic Pizza, Immortalized by Hollywood, Owes Employees $105,000: Dept. of Labor

The owner of Mystic Pizza, a restaurant made famous by a 1988 movie starring Julia Roberts, must hand over more than $105,000 in back pay after failing to properly compensate his employees and paying some of them as little as $5.69 per hour, according to the Department of Labor.

The department’s Wage and Workplace Standards Division began investigating restaurant owner John Zelepos after three people filed individual complaints.

Investigators learned that 110 employees received less than minimum wage and were not paid properly for their overtime work between May 2012 and June 2014, according to the DOL.

Zelepos paid cooks, dishwashers and hosts as little as $5.69 per hour, the DOL said. Other workers received $7.40 per hour. At the time, the state’s minimum wage was set at $8.70.

Some employees also worked up to 93 hours per week. Many were paid cash, and Zelepos did not accurately document their overtime hours, according to the DOL.

According to Wage and Workplace Standards Director Gary K. Pechie, the department is also investigating the report that one employee was fired after contacting the DOL to report wage violations.

Zelepos must pay the affected employees a total of $105,165.94 and is also required to pay $23,400 in civil penalties for 155 minimum wage and overtime violations.

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