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Gourmet Garden, an Ann Arbor restaurant, will pay over $116,000 to 18 employees for minimum wage, overtime and tipped wage violations.
Investigators for the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Labor Department found that several cooks had been paid less than the required minimum wage, waitstaff had not been compensated properly for their tips, and some employees had not been paid overtime for over 40 hours of work in a week. The restaurant also failed to keep legally required time and payroll records, investigators said.
In addition to paying the back wages, the restaurant also signed an enhanced compliance agreement, requiring it to install a new timekeeping system, change the frequency of its payroll, train workers on their rights under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act,
and display posters and facts sheets and provide information in a language workers understand.
A restaurant spokeswoman told MLive that the investigation was sparked by a complaint from two waiters who felt they were not being properly compensated by their tips. She placed the blame on the restaurant’s tip recordkeeping system.
The investigation of Gourmet Garden is part of a multiyear education and enforcement initiative directed at the hospitality industry in college towns and resort areas in the Midwest, the division said.
“Failure to pay legally required minimum wage and overtime poses a serious problem to workers who, in many cases, are already struggling to get by, and also undercuts those employers that choose to obey the law and pay their workers properly,” said Timolin Mitchell, director of the division's Detroit district office. “The hospitality industry needs to do more to ensure compliance with Wage and Hour rules. In addition to our ongoing enforcement activities, we are continuing our outreach to businesses, community organizations and other stakeholders so that all employers are competing on a level playing field and workers are made aware of their rights.”
Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.
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