Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Grille 54 restaurants in Tampa and Trinity, Fla., to pay 113 employees nearly $158,000 in back wages, damages after US Department of Labor investigation
TAMPA, Fla. -- Two Grille 54 restaurants in Tampa and Trinity have agreed to pay 113 employees a total of $157,866.16 in back wages and liquidated damages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The investigation is part of the Wage and Hour Division’s ongoing enforcement initiative in Florida to protect low-wage and vulnerable workers in the restaurant industry.
At the Trinity location, investigators found that the company failed to pay the required overtime rate to 85 employees for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. Instead, the employees were paid only their regular hourly rates, or “straight time,” for all hours worked. The employees will receive a total of $56,589.53 in back wages plus an equal amount in liquidated damages.
Twenty-eight employees at the Tampa location also were paid straight time for hours worked over 40 in a week. One of the employees who did not receive sufficient tips to meet the hourly minimum wage is owed additional back wages. The Tampa employees will receive a total of $22,343.55 in back wages plus an equal amount in liquidated damages. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.
“The Labor Department is committed to ensuring that restaurant workers receive the pay guaranteed them by law,” said James Schmidt, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Tampa District Office. “This ongoing enforcement initiative protects restaurants that follow the law from being placed at a competitive disadvantage by those who choose to ignore the rules.”
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. In accordance with the FLSA, an employer of a tipped employee is required to pay no less than $2.13 an hour in direct wages provided that amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages do not equal the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference. Employers also are required to provide employees notice of the FLSA tip credit provisions, to maintain accurate time and payroll records, and to comply with restrictions applying to workers under age 18.
Accessible and searchable information on enforcement activities by the Department of Labor is available at http://ogesdw.dol.gov/search. Publicly available enforcement data are also available through the free mobile application “Eat Shop Sleep,” which enables consumers, employees and other members of the public to check if a hotel, restaurant or retail location has been investigated by the Wage and Hour Division, and whether FLSA violations were found. The app is available at https://sites.google.com/site/eatshopsleepdol.
Assistance in settling this case was provided to the Wage and Hour Division by the Labor Department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor in Atlanta. For more information on the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division’s Tampa office at 813-288-1242 or the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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