Federal labor officials filed a lawsuit against the owners of Papa G’s, 10502 Route 47 in Huntley, alleging they intimidated and retaliated against their employees during a wage investigation. | Photo: Google Street View

A federal judge has issued an order barring the owners of Papa G’s restaurant in Huntley from retaliating and discriminating against their employees during the lawsuit.

The United States Department of Labor alleged in May that Papa G’s, located at 10502 Route 47 in Huntley, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938.

Federal officials conducted an investigation into defendants Rick Tsakalios and Steve Tsakalios, the owners of Papa G’s, from February 2019 to January 2022.

The investigation reviewed the restaurant’s employment and pay practices, a civil complaint said.

The labor department alleges the Tsakalios intimidated and retaliated against their employees during the wage investigation.

United States District Judge Philip Reinhard issued a preliminary injunction last Thursday ordering the Tsakalios to not retaliate or discriminate against any current or former employee, including discussing communications any employee had with the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Rinehard also ordered the owners to not withhold wages, terminate or threaten to terminate their employees if the Tsakalios believe they have been cooperating with the labor department.

The defendants must not communicate with their employees to investigate the plaintiff’s claims, prepare a defense, gather evidence or execute declarations without first informing the employee that their communication is voluntary and they cannot be retaliated against, the injunction said.

The employees must receive a statement informing them that their participation in the labor department’s investigation is voluntary.

The statement provided informs employees that the Tsakalios cannot “retaliate against you in any way” regarding the investigation, the injunction added.

If the owners fire an employee for any reason, they must provide a written notice to the labor department at least seven days prior to termination, Rinehard ordered.

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Both the U.S. Department of Labor and the Tsakalios agreed to the order.