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Department of Labor: Roanoke restaurant owed $867K in back wages

Your Thursday Morning Headlines, April 21st, 2022 02:49

ROANOKE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - The Department of Labor said a Roanoke barbeque restaurant owed $867,572 in back wages to 910 employees after investigators found that it was not paying overtime and was including managers in its tip pool.

According to the Wage and Hour Division, an August 2021 audit found that the Roanoke Hard Eight BBQ restaurant failed to pay tipped employees fairly by including managers in the tip pool. The Fair Labor Standards Act does not allow employers or their managers to keep tips that workers receive for any purpose.

The investigation found that restaurant also did not pay the time-and-a-half overtime wage to hourly managers who worked over 40 hours in a work week.

Hard Eight said that the issue was resolved immediately, and that all affected employees were compensated. Floor managers were also given a wage increase to compensate for tips.

Altogether, a spokesperson said that 910 workers were determined to be owed back wages in tips and overtime. Wage and Hour District Director Jesus A. Valdez in Dallas said:

"Roanoke Hard Eight violated the law by including managers in their tip pool. By doing so, the employer denied tipped workers some of their tips and managers proper overtime wages. As businesses struggle to find people to do the work needed to keep operating, employers would be wise to avoid violations or risk finding it even more difficult to retain and recruit workers who can choose to seek jobs where they will receive all of their rightful wages." 

In a statement issued on Friday, April 22, Hard Eight said:

"Hard Eight BBQ is in complete compliance with Department of Labor regulations. This issue was resolved eight months ago, in August 2021.  In 2019, the department instituted new regulations regarding tip sharing. At that time, our floor managers, who are deeply involved in the hands-on guest experience, were included in our tip sharing program. We learned about the new rules during a Department of Labor review and IMMEDIATELY changed our practices. We compensated ALL affected hourly employees and former employees. We also gave our floor managers a wage increase. We deeply value our employees and our customers and are grateful for their continued support."

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