$114,000 in Back Wages to Employees of Kentucky Restaurant Group

Friday, May 20, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a settlement agreement with Bluegrass Hospitality Group LLC and related companies requiring them to pay $114,756 in back wages to 43 employees. The agreement comes after allegations by the department’s Wage and Hour Division of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime pay and record-keeping provisions by Bluegrass Hospitality Group LLC; Lexington Choice Restaurant LLC; Malone’s of Lexington, doing business as Malone’s Restaurant; Sal’s Restaurant, doing business as Sal’s Chophouse; and Bluegrass Hospitality Group Palomar, all in Lexington.

“Restaurant owners and operators are responsible for ensuring that their workers are properly compensated for all hours of their hard work,” said Karen Garnett, director for the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division District Office in Louisville. “The department takes seriously its responsibility to enforce the FLSA on behalf of vulnerable workers. The resolution of this case demonstrates that when violations are found, we will use our enforcement tools to secure fair wages for employees.”

The settlement follows an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division’s Louisville District Office, which found that employees were made to work more than 40 hours a week without being paid overtime compensation as required under the FLSA. Bluegrass Hospitality Group failed to combine all hours worked by individuals who were employed at more than one of the company’s locations, thereby denying them full wages.

The investigation found that, in many instances, the employer did not pay for all hours worked as a result of requiring its servers to report for work at the beginning of their shifts but not allowing them to “clock in” until a sufficient number of customers had arrived. Investigators also found that the employer did not keep or preserve accurate records of employees’ wages and hours worked.

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