Philadelphia restaurant to provide $197,917 in back pay to staff

Talulas-Garden
Credit: Talula’s Garden

Philadelphia-based restaurant Talula’s Garden has agreed to pay 63 employees $197,917 (£149,368) in back pay to resolve minimum wage and overtime violations.

An investigation conducted by the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in Philadelphia found that Washington Square Restaurant Partners, which trades as Talula’s Garden, has violated overtime, minimum wage and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by requiring employees to work unpaid overtime hours.

This includes line cooks completing unpaid preparatory work before the start of their shifts, as well as servers and bartenders preparing food, individual work stations and the restaurant itself outside of their normal working hours and for no additional pay. The Department of Labor found that these instances therefore led to minimum wage and overtime violations.

In addition, the investigation found that the organisation did not maintain accurate records of work hours for bartenders, servers and line cooks, which violates recordkeeping provisions.

The back pay agreement is part of a proposed consent judgement filed on 16 October. This is now pending review and approval by a federal judge.

The FLSA states that covered, non-exempt employees are paid at least the minimum wage of $7.25 (£5.47) an hour for all hours worked, plus time-and-a-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for any hours worked over 40 hours a week. Employers are also required to maintain accurate time and payroll records.

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James Cain, district director at the Wage and Hour Division in Philadelphia, said: “The [employees] at Talula’s Garden did not receive the required minimum wage and overtime pay. Our agency is committed to ensuring that [employees] not only receive the wages they have rightfully earned, but that employers are provided all the tools they need to understand and comply with the law,”

Oscar L Hampton III, regional solicitor, added: “The off-the-clock work performed by Talula’s Garden employees resulted in clear violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This enforcement action, and the consent judgement resolving it, advances our goal of ensuring not only that restaurant employees are properly compensated, but that employers in this industry operate on a level playing field.”