Professional Service Agreement

WHD Recovers $3.3M in Back Wages, Damages for OT, Other FLSA Violations

March 15, 2021

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has recovered $3,391,324 in back wages and liquidated damages from employers in Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina for 641 affected workers due to FLSA violations.

Straight time paid for OT.Good Family Support Services Inc., operator of Good Family Support Services, a non-profit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has paid$2,125,429 in back wages for 456 workers. The WHD found that the employer paid family care workers on an hourly basis but paid straight-time rates for overtime hours. Good Family Support Services also violated FLSA recordkeeping requirements when it failed to record the number of hours that two employees worked and failed to record hourly rates.

OT labeled "per diem" and paid at straight time.Quality Marine Staffing LLC has paid$46,372 in back wages to 45 employees to resolve overtime and recordkeeping violations. WHD investigators found that the Pascagoula, Mississippi, staffing agency for the marine and shipbuilding industries failed to pay some employees overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Instead, the employer artificially labeled a portion of the employees’ hours as "per diem" payment, at an hourly rate, and paid that hourly payment at straight time for overtime hours. The employer also failed to maintain accurate payroll records as required.

Servers working for tips only.Chicago restaurant Tank Noodle Inc. has agreed to pay $697,295 in back wages for 60 employees. Investigators found the employer owed some workers more than $10,000 each in back wages and failed to keep accurate records of the number of hours employees worked, as required. The restaurant employed some servers to work only for tips, failing to pay the many direct wages, and also shorted servers when it pooled tips each day and divided them evenly among all staff, which illegally included management. The restaurant violated overtime requirements when it paid some workers flat amounts per day, regardless of the number of hours they worked, resulting in violations when they worked more than 40 hours per week but were not paid overtime.

Flat rate per catering event.The WHD found that Crazy Dutchman Catering LLC, a North Charleston, South Carolina, catering facility failed to pay18 workers $22,970 in overtime that they had earned. The restaurant paid straight-time rates for overtime hours employees worked at catered events. The employer tracked hours employees worked at their establishment with a time clock but failed to record the number of hours employees worked at events off site. Instead, Crazy Dutchman paid workers flat rates per event, regardless of the number of hours they worked, thus failing pay overtime when work time spent at offsite events combined with work at the employer’s establishment exceeded 40 in a workweek.

Withheld tips, kitchen staff paid salaries off the books.Under a federal court consent judgment, the DOL has recovered a total of $499,258 in back wages and liquidated damages for 62 workers employed by Mezcal Inc., operator of Mezcal Mexican Restaurant and Bar in Owings Mills and Lutherville, Maryland. The court ruled on summary judgment that Mezcal and its owner violated the FLSA willfully. The employer thus also paid $15,357 in civil money penalties.

Investigators found the restaurant violated the FLSA when it withheld money from workers’ tips for an alleged tip pool, but failed to distribute those funds among tipped employees, instead keeping the money for the business; paid servers straight time rates for overtime hours; paid kitchen staff a fixed salary, off the books, without overtime pay regardless of the number of hours they worked; and failed to maintain required payroll records, with many employees paid in cash and not appearing in the employer’s payroll records at all.