Talk about some bad Restaurant Week timing for the Montpelier-based Samosaman Café: As the blog Montpelier Matters first observed on Saturday, the Vermont Department of Labor has issued the downtown café a "stop work order" until the business comes into full compliance with the state's workers' compensation law.
As Seven Days first reported in this February 2 article, café proprietor Fuad Ndibalema ran into some legal snafus earlier this year after several of his workers complained to the state that, among other things, they weren't being adequately compensated under the state's minimum-wage law. The workers, all Peruvian women who were visiting Vermont as part of the U.S. State Department's J-1 Summer Work Travel Program, have since left Ndibalema's employ and returned to their home country.
Now it appears that original investigation turned up other problems. "After an investigation we concluded that, it turns out the different [Samosaman] locations have different corporate ownership and they only had workers' compensation insurance for the [Winooski] location," says Steve Monahan, director of workers' compensation and safety at the Vermont Department of Labor. "Since the statute says that if a business has not complied with workers' compensation, we're to order them closed until they get it."