RALEIGH — A group of former restaurant workers for a now-closed Cary, North Carolina eatery recently filed an unpaid overtime lawsuit against the company claiming the defendant “had a systemic company-wide policy, pattern or practice of failing to pay their employees at the appropriate statutory rate for hourly work, or for hours worked in excess of 40 each week at a rate of one and one-half their regular rate of pay.” The suit also claims the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by setting up an illegal tip pool to compensate ineligible workers in lieu of the restaurant paying a full hourly wage.
Citing what it called “operational losses,” the restaurant named in the complaint closed its doors in late January 2017 after many years of operation. However, the business going under does not in any way excuse its owners’ and operators’ failure to pay workers in a timely manner or operate tip pools within the boundaries of the law.
According to reports, at least one worker claimed to have routinely worked over 50 hours a week over the course of six days and was never paid one and a half times his hourly wage. Furthermore, the claim asserts this is merely the latest allegation against the defendant, accusing similar schemes of taking place in the past which required internal investigation and retroactive compensation to resolve the issues.
In addition to unpaid overtime, the complaint alleges the defendant violated the tip-share provision of the FLSA. Under the Act, employers are within their right to make deductions from tip earners to supplement the income of other front of the house employees working in restaurants, since both are directly involved with service to clients.
However, back of the house employees like cooks and dishwashers are traditionally exempt from tip pool eligibility. The unpaid overtime lawsuit alleges many back of the house workers had their wages paid from the tip share pool, an all too common form of wage theft committed against hard working restaurant staff.
Restaurant Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
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