Restaurant Forced to Pay Back Wages
A federal court in Tennessee recently ordered Hetal Patel Incorporated, which previously owned and operated an Indian Vegetarian Cuisine in Tennessee, for violating minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping laws.
How the Violations at the Restaurant Occurred
According to the United States Department of Labor, investigators have determined that the employers paid several types of workers at the restaurant including cooks, dishwashers, and food prep workers flat salaries without consideration of the actual number of hours that were worked.
Former workers at the restaurant were required to work 60 hours a week and earned less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Additionally, overtime is reported to not have been paid to employees who worked more than 40 hours a week, and that employers failed to keep adequate records of what hours each employee worked.
Response to the Case
In response to the case, the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor (DOL) stated that this incident should serve as a reminder that employers are responsible for paying their employees all of the wages that they have earned.
Meanwhile, the restaurant is reportedly under new management, which has stated that the previous owners are no longer involved with the operation of the business.
Common Ways Employers Fail to Adequately Compensate Restaurant Workers
As this story demonstrates, there are a number of ways that employers fail to adequately compensate employees. Some of the most common of these violations include:
- See our Legal Center for Restaurant Employees for more information including a list of common wage violations that are faced by restaurant workers
- Federal, state, and local laws establish the minimum wage per hour that an employer is required to pay employees. Unfortunately, some employers try to pay employees an amount lower than minimum wage.
- Federal Overtime laws require employers to pay employees a time and a half wage for hours worked over 40 a week.
- To avoid having to pay employees what they are owed, some employers misclassify employees as salary-exempt or exempt from overtime. Giving an employee a job title such as “manager” or being paid salary is not enough to relieve an employer from paying overtime. Whether an employee is “exempt from overtime” or “salary exempt” depends on many factors.
- While there is a complex body of wage and hour laws regarding workers who receive tips, employers must still make up for the difference if tips in addition to a worker’s regular wage do not equal minimum wage.
Contact an Experienced Wage and Hour Lawyer Today
There are a number of different ways in which employers violate federal wage and overtime laws. If you are a worker who has questions about your compensation, you should contact Herrmann Law today to schedule an initial case evaluation by calling our office: 817-479-9229 or filling out our online questionnaire, and someone from our office will contact you.