US Department of Labor recovers $28K in back wages for 36 restaurant workers illegally paid as independent contractors, denied overtime pay
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – A U.S. Department of Labor investigation has found a St. Petersburg restaurant ran afoul of federal law, leading to the recovery of $28,162 in back wages for 36 employees, and changes to the employers’ pay practices. The employer illegally paid kitchen staff, dishwashers, and servers as independent contractors.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Mi Carreta Restaurant & Bakery Inc. violated several provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act when it:
- Paid hourly tipped workers and kitchen employees straight-time pay for hours over 40 in a workweek.
- Misclassified cooks, bakers, dishwashers, kitchen supervisor, servers, and helpers as independent contractors.
- Failed to keep time records as the law requires. The division found the employer’s payroll report failed to show required information including the number of hours worked and the issue date on a series of checks was incorrect. These practices violated federal recordkeeping requirements.
“When employees work more than 40 hours in a workweek, employers must pay overtime pay unless an exemption applies,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Nicolas Ratmiroff in Tampa, Florida. “Mi Carreta Restaurant & Bakery misclassified some employees as independent contractors and, by doing so, deprived workers of their full wages, benefits and rights, including the employer’s contribution to workers’ Social Security savings and Medicare taxes.”
Opened in 2014, Mi Carreta Restaurant & Bakery Inc. is a family owned Florida business that offers Colombian cuisine to dine-in and delivery customers.
Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including misclassification of independent contractors and a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.