$82,665 in Back Wages to Restaurant Employees for Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay Violations

Friday, December 16, 2011

Inlet Harbor Inc., doing business as Inlet Harbor Restaurant, Marina & Gift Shop in Ponce Inlet, has agreed to pay $82,665 to 192 restaurant workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage and overtime provisions.

“This employer profited from having employees work overtime without paying them the full and fair compensation they deserve,” said Michael Young, director of the Wage and Hour Division's Jacksonville District Office. “The Wage and Hour Division's goal is to protect workers who often are denied the pay legally guaranteed them and make sure they receive the protections provided by federal labor law, while also ensuring that law-abiding employers are not placed at a competitive disadvantage for playing by the rules and paying fair wages.”

The investigation found that the employer was automatically deducting a half hour for breaks from every shift longer than six hours, even though the employees were never relieved from duty. Additionally, kitchen staff were paid “straight time” rather than time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked over 40 in a week, with some staff members working as many as 90 hours in a week. This practice resulted in 154 workers being owed $27,737 in back minimum wage pay and 38 employees being owed $54,928 in overtime back wages.

Inlet Harbor cooperated with the investigation and came into immediate compliance. The back wages cover the period from August 2009 to July 2011, and payments are ongoing.

The Wage and Hour Division has several ongoing enforcement initiatives throughout the nation to address similar noncompliance issues that are common in the restaurant industry, among others.

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers are required to keep accurate records of all hours worked by covered employees.

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