Press Conference: Restaurant Owner’s Manual and Wage Theft Prevention Act

On Friday, June 3, Vilda Mayuga, the Director of the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Immigrant Workers’ Rights, joined a number of local officials at a press conference in Ithaca. There, they announced the publication of the new manual for restaurant owners by the Tompkins County Workers’ Center and discussed the Wage Theft Prevention Act.

Pictured from left to right: Siv Somchanhmavong, Manager of Taste of Thai Express; Assembly Member Barbara Lifton; Linda Holzbaur, Community Organizer with Tompkins County Workers’ Center; Vilda Mayuga, Director, NYS Department of Labor’s Bureau of Immigrant Workers’ Rights; Martha Robertson, Chair of Tompkins County Legislature; and Carol Chase, Tompkins County Department of Health.

A 2009 sweep of restaurants in the Ithaca area by the Department of Labor uncovered numerous labor law violations. The Tompkins County Department of Health will distribute this manual to help restaurant owners and workers know their rights and responsibilities under the law.

The Wage Theft Prevention Act requires employers to keep payroll records on an ongoing basis. The Act also requires employers to provide a written notice of wage rates and contact information to each new hire and all employees by February 1 each year. The Act raises criminal penalties on employers who fail to pay minimum wage, and strengthens protections for whistleblowers.

Ms. Mayuga remained in Ithaca after the press conference to hold a roundtable discussion on the Department of Labor’s services for immigrant workers.