U.S. Department of Labor Initiative Finds Minneapolis ‘Eat Street’ Restaurants Owe $367,359 in Back Wages and Damages to 162 Employees
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping requirements at 15 restaurants in Minneapolis' "Eat Street" district during an education and enforcement initiative. The effort will recover $367,359 in back wages and liquidated damages for 162 employees.
Investigators found minimum wage and overtime violations at establishments including: Rainbow Chinese Restaurant & Bar; Black Sheep Pizza; Salsa a La Salsa (Global Market); Salsa a La Salsa (Nicollet Avenue); Marissa's Supermarket & Bakery; El Nuevo Mariachi; Eat Street Social; Los Maizales and Pancho Villa Minneapolis.
WHD conducted the initiative to educate employers, address common FLSA violations, and improve compliance with federal wage laws in the grocery and restaurant industries in the Midwest.
"Initiatives like this one help us collaborate with an industry, determine the root causes of wage violations, and provide compliance assistance that educates employers and helps protect employees," said Wage and Hour District Director David King, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. "The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that workers take home the pay they have rightfully earned, and to providing a level playing field for employers who play by the rules. "We balance rigorous enforcement with robust education and outreach in an effort to help employers avoid violations like those found in these investigations."
In 2018, WHD's education and enforcement initiative included outreach at more than 30 educational events for the Minneapolis' restaurant industry, as well as outreach to industry associations, one-on-one consultations with employers, seminars for small business owners, training for payroll associations and collaboration with worker task forces.
Investigations commonly find violations such as:
- Paying employees fixed salaries without regard to the number of hours they actually worked, resulting in violations when they worked more than 40 hours in a work week yet were not paid overtime;
- Paying for overtime hours at straight time rates, in cash;
- Failing to pay for overtime hours worked in one week, and instead paying them out in shorter, subsequent workweeks at straight time;
- Shaving hours from employees' time and illegally rounding partial hours;
- Failing to count short work breaks as work time; and
- Failing to maintain required time and payroll records.
For more information about the FLSA, and other laws enforced by WHD, contact the Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.
WHD's mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.