Employer: Alley Enterprises LLC, operating as Central Restaurant, 129 Coosa St., Montgomery, AL 36104
Investigation findings: U.S. Department of Labor investigators found Central Restaurant, a Montgomery fine dining restaurant, failed to pay some tipped employees the full minimum wage rate for time that exceeded a period of 30 consecutive minutes performing general preparation work, or non-tip-producing activities, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. By doing so, the employer lost its ability to claim a tip credit for the time spent performing non-tipped duties, obligating them to pay the employees their full minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Investigators also learned the employer paid some workers overtime at rates lower than required by law.
In addition, Central Restaurant allowed two 15-year-old employees to work after 7 p.m. on a school night, more than three hours a day and more than 18 hours a week while school was in session, all violations of the child labor provisions of the FLSA.
Back wages and liquidated damages owed to workers: $21,146 to 23 employees.
Civil money penalties assessed: $1,582 to address the child labor violations.
Quote: “Tipped employees in the food service industry are some of the nation’s lowest-paid workers, often paid a cash wage of only $2.13 per hour. When employers’ pay practices sidestep minimum wage and overtime laws, workers find making ends meet that much harder,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Kenneth Stripling in Birmingham, Alabama. “In addition to shortchanging their workers, we found Central Restaurant allowed minors to work beyond legal limits designed to keep work experiences from jeopardizing education commitments.”
Background: In fiscal year 2022, the Wage and Hour Division recovered more than $27.1 million for more than 22,000 workers in the food service industry.
Employers can contact the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a restaurant compliance assistance toolkit. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of where they come from – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Keep track of hours and wages with the Wage and Hour’s new Timesheet App for Apple and android devices, available in English and Spanish.