This is a ‘worker testimonial’ from Keith P. in the campaign against ‘wage theft’ at 3rd St. Diner. If you worked for Mr. Polyaris and have a work story you would like to share? Please consider submitting your testimonial here: [ http://tinyurl.com/85ezo5g ]
To view the call to action visit [ http://richmondiww.org/2012/04/14/direct-action-demand-unpaid-wages-for-worker-at-3rd-st-diner/ ]
I was employed by the Pyliaris Corporation from 1991 to 2003. During most of that time I worked at 3rd St Diner as a cook. During those years, I saw countless numbers of employees deprived of wages that were rightfully and legally owed to them. The restaurant and nightclub industries have a high turnover rate and often employees who worked for Pyliaris for a short period of time would be unpaid if they were only owed a single paycheck. Waitresses would often not receive their minimum wage as required by law but would be forced to work for tips only. Employees who worked overtime would be deprived of overtime pay.
Pyliaris was able to get away with this because most of his employees were either naïve young people or persons with limited education or socioeconomic advantages and who were not expecting to be taken advantage of in this way. Consequently, they did not understand the necessity of documenting the number of hours worked, saving old paycheck stubs, etc. in case they needed to bring a complaint to the Department of Labor concerning unpaid wages. Therefore, most complaints against Pyliaris ended up being a matter of his word against theirs.
I generally avoided conflicts of this type as I had a positive working relationship with Mr. Pyliaris’ father and was therefore considered “hands off” regarding these kinds of labor practices. However, when Mr. Pyliaris father relocated to Greece towards the end of my tenure with the Pyliaris Corp. things began to change. At the time, I was a bouncer/manager at one of Mr. Pyliaris gentleman’s clubs, The Candy Bar, and I typically worked 80 hours a week. I accumulated a good number of overtime hours for which I was owed back pay at overtime rates but was never paid. Fortunately, I had long been aware of Pyliaris’ unethical and illegal labor practices and had fully documented the number of hours I had worked and what I was owed. I filed a complaint with both the federal and state departments of labor and Pyliaris was ordered to compensate me. Further, a general investigation of Pyliaris’ labor practices was conducted and Pyliaris was likewise ordered to go back and pay a good number of other former employees past wages that were owed to them. This investigation transpired in 2003.
Mr. Pyliaris had essentially made a career out of depriving employees of wages that are rightfully owed to them. I know of no one who has ever worked for Pyliaris who has not complained of this issue or been aware of it. Additionally, Pyliaris has engaged in the sexual harassment of female employees. I know of at least one former employee who filed a lawsuit over such a matter in the mid-1990s. Pyliaris has also been arrested on numerous occasions for gratuitous assaults of patrons of his establishments when an altercation has occurred and has even been imprisoned for such conduct on at least one occcasion. [click here]