At the end of October, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it started litigation against a Tulsa Restaurant Chain for unpaid wages. According to the DOL, the restaurant chain owes nearly $1 million in unpaid wages to approximately 220 employees.
The suit was filed in the US District Court in the Northern District of Oklahoma, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act for four locations. According to the Complaint, in some cases, employees worked as many as 72 hours in a week, and yet were paid a fixed salary without overtime compensation for hours beyond 40 in a week. This practice also resulted in minimum wage violations because the employees did not receive at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Moreover, investigators from the Department of Labor also found that employees were required to turn their tips over to management at the end of every shift, which also caused their pay to fall below the federal minimum wage.
In accordance with FLSA, tipped employees should be paid no less than $2.13 an hour in direct wages, provided that the amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
According to News9, the Tulsa restaurant issued a press release stating that the Department of Labor’s allegations were based on speculation. “El Tequila is demanding its day in court. The statement will not hold up to the light of day,” the press release said.