MANCHESTER, NH – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $184,008 in tips, back wages and liquidated damages for 56 restaurant employees denied their full wages and tips by the operators of two New Hampshire restaurants after an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division. The division found that My Cielo Taqueria restaurants in Epping and Rochester violated tip keeping, minimum wage, overtime and child labor provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act in the following ways:Allowed managers to participate in the employees’ tip pool and kept tips from online orders. Failed to pay overtime to salaried, non-exempt employees working as prep-cooks and cooks.Failed to pay some hourly employees overtime or paid them overtime at an improperly calculated rate.Did not compensate hourly employees for some hours worked.Employed three 15-year-olds at the Rochester location to work in excess of hours restrictions, such as working more than three hours on a school day, after 7 p.m. between Labor Day and June 1 and after 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day.“The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits owners and managers from participating in tip pools and keeping any portion of an employee’s tips for any purpose. Not paying low-wage restaurant workers minimum wage and overtime and depriving them of their earned tips makes it harder for them to pay their bills and support their families,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven McKinney in Manchester, New Hampshire. In addition to the recovered wages and tips, the department assessed and collected $5,356 in civil money penalties from the employers for their child labor and tip violations.“Employers engaging in such practices will face costly consequences for violating federal law,” added McKinney. “Violations can be prevented if employers know, understand and comply with the law. We encourage employers to contact us with questions about their legal responsibilities.”The FLSA requires that most employees in the U.S. be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at not less than time and one-half the regular rate-of-pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Young workers 14 and 15 years of age may be employed outside school hours in a variety of safe, non-manufacturing jobs that do not jeopardize their well-being. The YouthRules! initiative promotes positive and safe work experiences for teens by providing information about protections for young workers to youth, parents, employers and educators. Through this initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor and its partners promote developmental work experiences that help prepare young workers to enter the workforce.The Wage and Hour Division has also published Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employers to help employers comply with the law.Workers and employers can contact the division confidentially at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including the agency’s restaurant compliance assistance toolkit, an overview of FLSA protections for restaurant workers and Workers Owed Wages, a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers and employers alike can help track their hours worked and pay by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free in English or Spanish. This press release is also available in Spanish.
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