Once Again, It’s the Working People Who Suffer

Ihsan Gunaydin owns a diner outside Philadelphia and his son runs it for him. Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor says father and son have been very, very bad boys.

The Philadelphia Inquirer explains.

The department sued Mosluoglu Inc. president Ihsan Gunaydin and restaurant manager Engin Gunaydin after its investigators found they “seized 10 to 15 percent of servers’ total tips per shift” at their Empire Diner & Restaurant in Lansdowne. The agency alleged that they paid some workers straight-time rates for overtime hours, and that some servers “were given time and one-half their cash wages” of $2.83 per hour, instead of basing overtime on the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, as the Fair Labor Standards Act requires.

With daddy out of the country, the son explains:

“This is the first I’m hearing of this,” Engin Gunaydin said, when reached at the diner by phone. “It’s news to me. We’ve been here 20 years, we have never had a problem like this. We’re here 24 hours [a day]. The local politicians come here, they bring their families. [State Sen.] Anthony Williams [D., Phila.] is here with his family all the time. The Heinzes, the ketchup family, they’ve been here.”

Well, that’s different:  if politicians go there the restaurant MUST be honest, right?

And in a laughable aside, one of those politicians, Senator Williams, apparently found it necessary to explain his allegiance, or lack thereof, to an inquiring Inquirer reporter:

Sen. Williams “has gone there, he frequents a lot of restaurants in the district, but it’s not one of his favorites. His favorite is Cedar Park,” on Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia, clarified Sabrina Hall, the senator’s spokesperson. She added that Williams was not aware of the Labor Department complaint.

The state is seeking full repayment of wages that have been denied to the people the Gunaydins cheated.  As the Inquirer explained,

The government said it wants the diner operators to pay “back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for 83 employees,” and to retroactively pay workers who may have had their tips reduced the full minimum wage (and overtime based on the minimum) instead of the lower restaurant cash wage rate, which assumes workers will also keep their tips.

The lawsuit alleged “willful violations of the federal wage, overtime, and record-keeping provisions” of the act.

So first they swindled their employees, second they pocketed their ill-gotten booty, and third, they doctored their books to make it look like they were paying their people appropriately.

Those Gunaydins are a real triple threat, aren’t they – and two more offenders in the war against working people.







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