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November 1, 2022

MANCHESTER, NH – The United States Department of Labor has collected $527,000 in returned tips and back wages and an equal amount in damages from the operators of three Cumberland County, Maine, restaurants that denied 25 workers their overtime wages or withheld portions of their earnings. illegal advice.

Investigators with the Wage and Hour Division found that El Grand Rodeo, which operates as El Rodeo in South Portland, El Rodeo Brunswick LLC in Brunswick and Azul Tequila LLC in Gorham failed to include the hours of employees working in more than one location when calculating overtime. for more than 40 hours in each work week. They also found Azul Tequila misdirected tip money to a unit owner and manager and failed to pay overtime to an underpaid employee. The employer’s actions violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“The hour and tip violations found in this investigation are common in the food service industry,” said Wage and Hour District Director Steven McKinney in Manchester, New Hampshire. “Workers rely on tips they rely on to increase their hourly wages to earn a living. Employers who withhold wages from workers may face costly consequences if they violate the law.”

Federal law prohibits employers, managers and supervisors from saving employee tips, including tips in tip pools. The law applies even if tipped workers are paid hourly rates equal to or above the full minimum wage.

In fiscal year 2021, the division earned more than $3.7 million in payroll for 29,229 employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there were one million job openings in the lodging and food service industry in August 2022, while 1,022,000 lodging and food service industry workers were separated from their jobs.

Employees can call the Wage and Hour Department confidentially with questions – regardless of immigration status, and the department can speak to callers in more than 200 languages.

For more information about the FLSA, restaurant labor and restaurant workers, or other laws enforced by the department, contact the department toll-free at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division and the search tool to use if you think you may be owed wages collected by the division. Help ensure that hours worked and payments are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free.