Ongoing enforcement initiatives conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division that focused on the restaurant industry in California have uncovered significant violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under these initiatives, personnel from the division’s San Francisco and Los Angeles District Offices conducted several restaurant investigations in 2012. They recovered $672,333 in unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation for 273 employees working as cooks, bussers, servers and other restaurant staff.
Wage and Hour Division investigators conducted thorough reviews of payroll records and employment practices, in addition to employee interviews to assess employer compliance with all applicable labor standards. Common FLSA violations uncovered during these investigations include not paying employees for all hours worked, such as pre-shift and post-shift work; paying employees cash wages “off the books;” paying fixed salaries for all hours worked, without regard to minimum wage and overtime requirements; missing payroll or failing to pay employees on scheduled pay days; and not maintaining accurate records of employees’ wages and work hours.
The department has a smart phone application to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed. Available in English and Spanish, users can conveniently track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours for one or more employers. This new technology is significant because, instead of solely relying on their employers’ records, workers can now keep their own records. This and other Labor Department apps are available at www.dol.gov/whd.
Information on establishments investigated under the ongoing restaurant initiative will be included in the division’s enforcement database, which can be viewed online at www.dol.gov/whd. It is also accessible via the “Eat Shop Sleep” smart phone app, which can be found on the Labor Department’s app Web page. Consumers, employees and other members of the public can use the app to learn if a restaurant, hotel or retail establishment has been investigated by the division, and whether FLSA violations were found. Businesses will have a greater incentive to comply with the law now that their compliance track records are publicly available.
posted by Tiffany Haslacker