Recently, several news stories have reported that the government is cracking down on businesses such as restaurants and factories that fail to pay employees minimum wage and overtime. Under federal law, most businesses must pay workers at least the federal minimum wage, $7.25 per hour. Employers must also pay all non-exempt employees overtime, calculated at a rate of one and one-half times your rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.
Recently, three Seattle-area restaurants settled a lawsuit brought by the Department of Labor after an investigation found several federal pay-roll violations. The restaurants agreed to pay more than $420,000 in back wages and damages to 83 employees.
Payroll abuses at the restaurants included:
• Paying some workers only $10/day;
• Paying kitchen workers on a salary regardless of number of hours worked; and
• Paying employees in cash.
As a result of the investigation and lawsuit, the restaurants have agreed to keep accurate time and payroll records.