Miami-based Barton G. restaurants to pay $28,000 in back wages to 99 low-wage workers for FLSA violations

Barton G. Inc.

Agency Name: Wage & Hour Division (WHD), US Department of Labor

Release Number:  12-512-ATL (160)

Release Date: April 30, 2012

Call (954) 946-8130 for a free telephone consultation with a Florida lawyer about your unpaid overtime and minimum wage claim.

MIAMI — Barton G. Inc., operator of three fine dining establishments, has agreed to pay $28,027 in back wages to 99 employees following investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which found violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). These were disclosed at all of the restaurants: Barton G. The Restaurant in South Beach; Prelude By Barton G. inside the Adrienne Arsht Center for Performing Arts in Miami; and The Villa By Barton G. inside the former Versace Mansion in Miami.

Investigators from the division’s Miami District Office found systemic FLSA violations at the Barton G. restaurants resulting from the company’s failure to properly compensate tip-earning employees, such as servers and bartenders, for all hours of their work. After reviewing payroll records and conducting employee interviews, investigators determined that many employees were made to rely primarily on tips and earned wages that fell below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Barton G. also failed to properly calculate and compensate tipped employees for all overtime hours, those worked in excess of 40 in a week. Additionally, record-keeping violations occurred due to the company’s failure to maintain accurate payroll records, as required under the FLSA. Specifically, in one of the restaurants, servers were paid a percentage of their sales, which is a commission and not a tip.

Following the investigations, Barton G. agreed to pay all back wages due and to maintain future compliance with the FLSA. The company also has committed to changing its payroll system to catch employees whose wages fall below the minimum wage and is training its payroll department to properly calculate overtime for tipped employees.

The restaurant industry employs some of our country’s lowest paid workers who, due to a lack of knowledge of the law or unwillingness to exercise their rights, are vulnerable to disparate treatment and labor violations.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, as well as one and one-half times their regular rates for hours worked over 40 per week. The act also requires that accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained. If certain conditions are met, the FLSA permits an employer to take a tip credit toward its minimum wage obligation for tipped employees. The employer must pay tipped employees a cash wage of $2.13 per hour or the state mandated cash wage, whichever is higher; all tips must be retained by the employee except for contributions to a valid tip pooling arrangement; employees must be informed of the tip credit provision; and the amount of tips plus cash wages must equal at least the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour. Additionally, some states, including Florida, have a higher requirement for the employer’s share of wages.

If you are currently employed as a tipped waiter/waitress in a restaurant and believe that you have been denied minimum and/or overtime pay there  you should consult a labor  attorney to evaluate your potential case.

This post is intended to provide you with information about overtime and wage cases filed throughout the country by other law firms and the government. It serves to give you an idea of the types of issues which are currently being litigated by employment lawyers as well as those which have been “settled.”

As a courtesy to you, we are providing the court name, case number and date filed to facilitate your search for it on the federal PACER website. Current information regarding case status, parties and attorneys is available on PACER to anyone who opens an account with them.

Please also note that some cases we report on were initiated by the Department of Labor and then settled  without having been filed in Federal Court and thus will not be available on the PACER website. For these cases we generally provide a brief summary of the findings and results.

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