News Release

Vermont restaurant retaliated against server, underpaid workers, violated child labor provisions, US Department of Labor investigation finds

Colatina Exit paid $290K in back wages, damages

MANCHESTER, NH – A Vermont restaurant server will receive $50,000 in punitive damages and $829 in back pay, after a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation found the employer retaliated against them by terminating their employment for refusing to share tips with a manager.

The division found Trareeba Ltd., doing business as Colatina Exit in Bradford, Vermont, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by unlawfully including managers in its tip pool, which invalidated the employer’s tip credit, and also failed to pay workers time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours over 40 in a workweek. 

The division also determined the restaurant employed two 17-year-old delivery drivers to make time-sensitive deliveries, a violation of federal child labor regulations. 

In an administrative settlement with the division, Colatina Exit paid $119,605 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 43 employees affected by the tip and overtime violations. The employer has paid the department $28,132 in civil money penalties for its child labor violations and $3,393 in penalties for the tip violations. 

“Colatina Exit’s illegal employment practices hurt workers and undercut law-abiding employers who treat their employees fairly. The law requires that tips go to employees, not their manager,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven McKinney in Manchester, New Hampshire.

“The Wage and Hour Division does not tolerate retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act and we will take all necessary action to protect workers and ensure they receive the wages they are owed,” McKinney emphasized.

The FLSA prohibits employers from keeping any portion of employees’ tips for any purpose, whether directly or through a tip pool. Employers may not require workers to give their tips to the employer, a supervisor or a manager.

Learn more about protections against unlawful retaliation to workers.

The Department of Labor’s YouthRules! initiative promotes positive and safe work experiences for teens by providing information about protections for young workers to youth, parents, employers and educators. Through this initiative, the department and its partners promote developmental work experiences that help prepare young workers to enter the workforce. The Wage and Hour Division has also published Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers to help employers comply with the law. Learn more about the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor provisions

Workers and employers can contact the division confidentially at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including the agency’s restaurant compliance assistance toolkit, an overview of FLSA protections for restaurant workers and Workers Owed Wages, a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers and employers alike can help track their hours worked and pay by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free in English or Spanish.  

Wage and Hour Division
April 24, 2024
Release Number
Media Contact: James C. Lally
Phone Number
Media Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
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