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Restaurant Pays $83K in Back Wages for Overtime, Minimum Wage Violations of FLSA

November 17, 2011

Our Orange County labor and employment attorney blog recently discussed a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) investigation into two Mexican restaurants in Tennessee, after the restaurants were found to have willfully and repeatedly violated federal wage and hour laws, by failing to pay regular and tipped employees with minimum wage, overtime payment and for failing to comply to the FLSA's record-keeping requirements.

The DOL continues to go after low-wage industries across the country, like the restaurant industry, that prey upon vulnerable workers who are often unaware of the state and federal labor and employment laws that protect them, or who are too scared to stand up for their employment rights.

In a related DOL wage and hour settlement from last month, a restaurant in Louisiana agreed to pay $83,569 in back wages to 43 former and current restaurant employees, after the company was found by the DOL to have profited from allowing the employees to work, without properly compensating them.

According to the DOL investigation, Superior Bar & Grill was found to have required bartenders, wait staff and bussers to pay for customer walk-outs, when customers place orders and leave before paying, along with incorrect customer orders, and failed to pay the employees for all hours worked--which caused the employees' wages to fall below the minimum wage level. The employer also violated the FLSA by failing to compensate workers for overtime hours worked, and neglecting to keep FLSA-required records of all employee hours worked.

Under the federal labor laws, employees are required to be paid at least $7.25 for every hour worked, plus one and one-half their standard hourly pay rates for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek, including commissions, incentive and bonus pay.

As our Fontana employment lawyers blog recently reported, under the FLSA, tipped employees are considered to be workers who regularly receive tips that equal over $30 in a month. The tips an employee earns may be considered as part of the employee's wages, but the employer is required to pay a tipped employee at least $2.13 per hour in direct wages--to make sure that the total amount of tips earned add up to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. If the tips and direct hourly wage do not total the federal minimum wage, than the employer must make up the pay difference.

The FLSA also requires that tipped employees receiving $2.15 per hour in direct wages are subject to overtime laws, and should be paid one and one-half times the federal minimum wage of $7.25--and not $2.13. Also, any deductions taken out of an employee's wages for items like customer walk-outs or cash shortages are illegal if the monetary deduction reduces the wages of an employee to below the federal minimum wage, or cuts into their overtime payment.

Superior Bar & Grill reportedly cooperated with the DOL investigation and has paid all back wages. The restaurant agreed to compensate tipped employees for all hours worked, with no illegal deductions, and also agreed to comply with all FLSA minimum wage and overtime regulations in the future.

Call our Santa Ana employment attorneys at Howard Law, PC today, for free consultation to discuss your wage and hour rights in the workplace. Call us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925.

US Department of Labor recovers more than $83,000 in back wages for 43 employees of Superior Bar & Grill in Shreveport, La., U.S. Department of Labor Press Release, October 4, 2011

Related Web Resources:

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Related Blog Posts:

Tennessee Restaurants To Pay Overtime Back Wages for Willful and Repeated FLSA Violations, California Employment Lawyer Blog, November 11, 2011

DOL Forces Wok King Restaurant to Pay $531K in Wage and Hour Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, October 2011

DOL Continues to Track Down Federal Wage and Hour Law Violations in the Workplace, California Employment Lawyers Blog, September 8, 2011

CA Wage and Hour Lawsuit Settlement--66 Japanese Employees to Receive $145K in Overtime Back Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, August 22, 2011

Another DOL Investigation Brings Restaurant Employees $275K in Overtime Back Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, July 18, 2011

Taqueria Restaurant to Pay Workers Nearly $250K in Overtime Back Pay and Minimum Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, June 15, 2011

Feds Crack Down on Wage and Hour Violations in NY Restaurants, California Employment Lawyers Blog, April 15, 2011

Mexican Restaurants To Pay Over $1M in Back Wages and Overtime, California Employment Lawyers Blog, June 1, 2011

DOL Wage and Hour Division Audits for Low Wage Industry Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, July 20, 2010

New Study Reveals More Abuse of Low-wage Workers in Los Angeles, California Employment Lawyers Blog, January 11, 2010

Financial Discrimination for Low-wage Workers in Los Angeles, California Employment Lawyers Blog, September 8, 2009