Reading Terminal merchant pays back wages owed to workers

Vincent Iovine, left, one of the owners of Iovine Produce, was ordered to pay back wages to 140 past and present employees of Iovine Brothers Produce and the bar, Molly Malloy, both at the Reading Terminal.

The owners of a produce market and bar in the Reading Terminal Market have agreed to pay $660,117 in back wages and damages to 140 current and former employees, the U.S. Department of Labor said Tuesday.

Instead of paying workers overtime after 40 hours, the owners of Iovine Brothers Produce and Molly Malloy’s paid workers straight time in cash — following the same practice for tipped and hourly workers. The owners of the businesses, James and Vincent Iovine, also had to pay a civil penalty of $62,007 “due to the willful nature of the violations,” the department said. Their company, Iovine Bros Inc., did not keep proper payroll records, the Labor Department said.

The department’s investigation ran from August 2013 through August 2016.

Iovine Brothers Inc. operates the produce business as well as Iovine Brothers Bar and Grill Inc., which does business as Molly Malloy’s. On the Iovine produce website, the two brothers, who both profess a love for broccoli, said they began operating their produce business in the 1990s.

The department said the company agreed to change its practices to comply with the law.

“For workers in the restaurant and service sectors, money earned through overtime can make a big difference to their livelihood,” James Cain, director of the division’s Philadelphia District Office, said in a statement. “For employers in this competitive industry, maintaining a level playing field is critical.”

The Iovine brothers did not return calls for comment.