Restaurants fined for taking $2 an hour in tips from employees

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Owners of two southwestern Michigan restaurants have been fined for making their employees pay the restaurant $2/hour from their tips.

John and Peter Philis have been ordered by a federal judge to pay $245,000 in back wages and damages to 118 employees of Sophia’s House of Pancakes in Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor. Peter Philis was also found to have discriminated against the server who reported the violations to the Labor Department.

The owners were also penalized for failing to pay servers for time spent working before and after their scheduled shifts, taking deductions from employee’s pay for uniforms and incorrect orders and failing to accurately record daily and weekly work hours and earnings.  They were also accused of paying kitchen staff flat salaries without regard to how many house they worked and did not pay overtime.

The restaurants are also being required to upgrade their record keeping system and reports to employees.

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15 comments

  • Fran-tastic

    Michigan does not need or want people like this operating businesses in our state. If you are a business owner, please go into these restaurants and offer the employees good jobs in the area, and walk out with them. If you are not a business owner, stay away from these restaurants. If you are the neighbors of the Philises, stop talking to them. Treat them how they treat others.

    • Brenda ojeda

      That’s ironic that we have had many “white” people work as a cook, prep, or dishwasher. Why don’t you make sure you know the facts before you put your 2 cents into this mess.

    • Brenda ojeda

      No thank you we will all be staying right at sophia’s where we love our jobs & all our business owner friends, & customers are standing their ground & showing support as they know this story is not true. We have all been there for years & one of us will be looking for new jobs anytime soon. We were never done wrong & we have a great boss that goes above & beyond for all of his employees

  • Crystal

    How about someone also look into the fact that they racially discriminate when hiring employees…they have no repect. They are bold and will let you know in a minute that they will only hire a full blooded Mexican american.

    • Brenda ojeda

      That’s ironic that we have had many “white” people work as a cook, prep, or dishwasher. Why don’t you make sure you know the facts before you put your 2 cents into this mess.

    • Brenda ojeda

      I am & have been a server there for 8 plus years this is a very untrue & the media has taken the story & turned it around. See sophia’s House of pancakes kalamazoo facebook page for the real story. People jump to judgment because of what they read why not talk to the employees that work there that would give you a better understanding of the truth. Boycotting us is a great way of hurting these people including myself. My boss has never not paid any of us nor took 2 an hr away from us period. Everyone that works there is sticking by our boss & our job we are a family & will defend the truth as it is not what the news makes it out to be

      • Steve Kuesis

        My wife also worked there,if she didn’t pay the host on the side he wouldn’t seat people in her section,she had to pay for her uniforms and they did take money from her,she worked 8 hours a day and after the bus boys stealing tips and giving money to the host she made enough for gas to get home and the owners new this

  • Mario Tomaino

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