SURFSIDE BEACH, SC – Restaurant servers work hard and put their safety at risk throughout the pandemic. They depend on diners’ tips to earn a living wage, but 10 workers at a Surfside Beach restaurant found their wages reduced illegally by the establishment’s manager and owner who required servers to share tips with them.

A U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation found Sarku Hibachi Surfside Beach Inc. – operating as Sarku Hibachi Grill & Buffet – required servers, who were paid an hourly wage of $3.00 or less, to share tips with their employer and manager, a Fair Labor Standards Act violation. As a result, the employer is required to return shared tips and pay servers the difference between their hourly wage and the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked. The division found the employer failed to keep a record of cooks’ work hours as well.

In total, the division recovered $75,953 in back wages for 10 workers from the employer for its violations of federal labor laws.

“Restaurant workers are essential workers. They work hard for their tips and rely on them to pay their bills and feed their families,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Jamie Benefiel in Columbia, South Carolina. “Restaurant owners must understand that keeping workers’ tips or requiring workers to share tips with managers or supervisors is illegal. The U.S. Department of Labor is just a phone call away, should any restaurant worker, manager or owner need clarification on that matter, or have questions about tip and wage requirements.”

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). A compliance assistance toolkit is also available for restaurant employers. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.

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