$51,000 in Back Wages and Penalties Ordered Against Red Lobster in Lubbock, Texas

Friday, August 19, 2011

Darden Restaurants Inc., doing business as Red Lobster in Lubbock, has agreed to pay $27,427 in back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that 109 current and former servers were not properly paid as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company also has been assessed $23,980 in civil money penalties to be paid to the government. Red Lobster in Lubbock is a full-service restaurant, employing approximately 82 workers.

“Workers deserve full and fair compensation for all hours of work, from the beginning to the end of their scheduled shifts,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “The penalty assessment in this case demonstrates that we will vigorously address bad practices in the restaurant industry with every available enforcement tool.”

Investigators from the division’s Albuquerque District Office determined that workers were allowed to clock in once customers were seated, instead of at the start of their scheduled work shifts as required under the FLSA. This practice resulted in shorter hours and compensation that fell below the federal minimum wage, violating the FLSA’s minimum wage and record-keeping provisions.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Further, employers must maintain accurate time and payroll records.

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