$104,089 in Back Wages to Employees of Barbecue and Seafood Restaurant Chain

Friday, September 9, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $104,089 in back wages for 230 restaurant workers employed by Fayetteville-based This Is It! BBQ & Seafood at five of its Georgia locations. This action followed an investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The department also fined the company $1,867 for allowing minors to work later than allowed by federal law.

The investigation found that the company improperly classified employees as exempt from the FLSA and consequently failed to pay them time and one-half their regular rates for hours exceeding 40 in a workweek, as required under the act's overtime provisions. Investigators also found that tipped employees were not paid the minimum wage due to the company deducting uniform expenses and lunch breaks that employees did not take from their wages.

Additionally, workers younger than age 16 were allowed to work later than 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day and later than 7 p.m. at other times of the year, in violation of the FLSA's restrictions for young workers. Finally, the company failed to maintain accurate records of tips earned and hours worked, in violation of the act's record-keeping provisions.

This Is It! BBQ & Seafood has agreed to maintain future compliance with the FLSA by keeping accurate records and paying full and proper wages for all hours that employees work. As part of this commitment, the business has retained a payroll company to assist with correctly computing overtime compensation for tipped employees.

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