Investigation recovers $88K in back wages, damages for 32 golf course workers after US Department of Labor finds invalid tip pool, other violations
NEW ALBANY, OH – Federal investigators have recovered $88,822 in back wages and liquidated damages for 32 workers at a New Albany golf course and country club where the employer required tipped employees to share tips with managers and, by doing so, lost their ability to claim a tip credit under the law.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found New Era Golf Ohio NAL Inc., operator of the semi-private golf course and country club, created an invalid tip pool by including salaried managers. The employer then lost their ability to take a tip credit in weeks when managers received tips from the tip pool, making the golf course and club’s operator responsible for repaying tips to workers that were illegally diverted to managers.
Investigators also determined that the employer did not keep accurate pay records and made automatic deductions for lunch breaks even when workers were unable to take a break. These deductions led to the employer’s failure to pay employees minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime compensation for hours over 40 in workweek. These actions violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“When an employer claims a tip credit, employer-required or mandatory tip pools may only include employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, even when a salaried manager works as a server or bartender,” explained Wage and Hour District Director Matthew Utley in Columbus, Ohio. “Violations like these are common in the food service industry, and the Wage and Hour Division is determined to ensure employers pay workers their full wages and benefits.”
The department’s Quick Service Restaurants Compliance Assistance Toolkit explains wage laws for the industry.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for android devices to ensure hours and pay are accurate.