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November 1, 2022

MANCHESTER, NH – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $51,217 in back tips and back wages and a similar amount in liquidated damages from the operator of three Cumberland County, Maine, restaurants that refused 25 workers at their full wages for overtime hours or with portions of what they have earned. illegal advice.

Wage and Hour Department investigators determined that El Grand Rodeo, which operates as El Rodeo in South Portland, El Rodeo Brunswick LLC of Brunswick and Azul Tequila LLC of Gorham failed to combine the hours of employees who worked more than one place when calculating overtime. more than 40 hours per work week. They also found Azul Tequila improperly diverted pool payments to a part owner and manager and failed to pay overtime to one non-exempt employee. The employers’ actions violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“The overtime violations and related recommendations found in these investigations are very common in the food service industry,” said Wage and Hour District Director Steven McKinney of Manchester, New Hampshire. “Tip workers rely on their hourly wages to make ends meet. Employers who deny tips to workers can face serious consequences for violating the law.

Federal law prohibits employers, managers and supervisors from protecting employee tips, including tip pools. The law applies even if the employee in question is paid an hourly rate equal to or above the full minimum wage.

In fiscal year 2021, the division recovered more than $34.7 million in back wages for 29,209 workers in the food service industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1.2 million job openings in the lodging and food service industry in August 2022, while 1,022,000 lodging and food service industry workers were laid off.

Employees can call the Wage and Hour Division anonymously 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 workers and restaurant workers, or other laws enforced by the department, contact the agency’s toll-free help line 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 make sure hours worked and payroll are accurate by downloading the free time app for Android and iOS.