PINEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — Employees from a Wyoming County restaurant were awarded more than $167,000 in back wages after they were denied overtime pay.
According to a release from the US Department of Labor, a total of 17 employees from the Ole Jose Grill & Cantina in Pineville were involved in the investigation that found multiple violations within the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that the employer, Ole Jose Grill & Cantina, incorrectly paid tipped employees time and a half of their cash-based wage for any hours over 40 hours per week. This was wrong because proper overtime pay consists of time and a half of the appropriate minimum wage.
It was also discovered that the employer “misclassified” a tipped employee as an independent contractor. The kitchen staff was also reportedly paid a flat rate for all hours, with no overtime pay involved. A record of hours worked for back of the house employees was not kept.
A total of $83,632 in back wages was paid to 17 employees, with another $83,632 in liquidated damages. This totals up to $167,264 in fines and damages to be paid by Ole Jose Grill & Cantina.
Many restaurant workers struggle to make ends meet and they deserve to be paid for all hours worked. Employers who shortchange their employees will be held accountable.
John DuMont | Wage and Hour Division District Director