A Florida restaurant denied 75 servers their hard-earned tips and is now paying the price for its wage theft. A U.S. Department of Labor investigation resulted in a $262K settlement for wage theft violations at the restaurant.
Investigators determined that Ginza Japanese Restaurant in Fort Myers, Florida, required its servers to tip out sushi chefs, owners and managers based on the servers’ total sales. The restaurant’s division of tips to non-service staff illegal actions made their tip pool invalid under federal law.
The Department of Labor also found the restaurant could not account for $22,000 in tips they withheld and had no records to prove those tips were paid to servers or any other employee.The restaurant also failed to pay a regular rate and overtime to dual-occupation workers who completed separate job roles. All of these actions violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. As a result of its investigation, the Department of Labor recovered $262,322 in back wages and liquidated damages for the affected workers.
“Tips are the property of the employees who earn them. No employer has the right to keep any tips unless they are given directly to the manager who directly serves a customer,”explained a Department of Labor Spokesperson. “This case shows that when an employer handles tip pools improperly, they may no longer apply a tip credit which can lead to an employer owing employees significant back wages and damages.”
Wage theft occurs when employers do not fully pay their employees for work performed. This includes not paying minimum wage, failing to pay overtime, requiring to off-the-clock work, untimely payments, withholding of a final paycheck, taking illegal deductions, tip theft, etc.
If you believe you are or have been a victim of wage theft, please contact the attorneys at Pechman Law Group at 212-583-9500. We have recovered over 20million dollars on behalf of restaurant workers who have been cheated out of their overtime or have been subjected to other unlawful pay practices.