Talula’s Garden, a Philadelphia restaurant, has agreed to pay 63 workers $400,000 for wage theft violations, including requiring employees to work unpaid hours, according to a lawsuit initiated by the U.S. Department of Labor. The lawsuit alleges Talula’s Garden violated the overtime, minimum wage, and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
“The workers at Talula’s Garden did not receive the required minimum wage and overtime pay,” said a representative for the Department of Labor. “Our agency is committed to ensuring that workers 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.”
The investigation found that line cooks did prep work off-the-clock before the start of their shifts, resulting in unpaid overtime work. Servers and bartenders also worked – off-the-clock and without pay – to prepare food, the restaurant, and their individual work stations, resulting in minimum wage and overtime violations. The restaurant also failed to maintain accurate records of work hours for bartenders, servers, and line cooks.
“The off-the-clock work performed by Talula’s Garden employees resulted in clear violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said another Department of Labor employee. The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time-and-one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses, and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
A produce market and a restaurant at Reading Terminal Market will pay $660,117 to settle overtime claims. The settlement is for back wages and liquidated damages for 140 present and past workers to resolve violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Department of Labor investigators found that Iovine Brothers Produce and Molly Malloy’s restaurant, which operates out of the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, violated the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the FLSA. The investigation determined that the companies failed to pay overtime at time-and-a-half when employees at the produce market and restaurant worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Instead, the employer paid for the overtime hours at straight time rates, in cash. The failure affected regular hourly employees, and tipped employees, such as servers and bartenders. The employer also failed to maintain some of the payroll records required by law. A civil money penalty of $62,007 was assessed due to the willful nature of the wage theft violations.
“For workers in the restaurant and service sectors, money earned through overtime can make a big difference to their livelihood,” said a Department of Labor spokesman. “For employers in this competitive industry, maintaining a level playing field is critical. Our top priorities are to ensure that workers are aware of their rights, and to help companies come into compliance with the law.”
The federal FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour ($11.00 per hour for workplaces with more than 10 workers in New York City), for all hours worked, plus time-and-one-half their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News have recognized waiterpay.com in their recent coverage on the record $8.5 million settlement with Chickie’s & Pete’s restaurants.