News reports that Huddle House franchises in Georgia and throughout the United States were found in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and were required to pay significant back wages. Sources indicate that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division determined that the restaurants had “significant” violations of labor laws in Georgia, Missouri and West Virginia. Huddle House is now required to pay minimum and overtime back wages to current and former employees, as well as civil penalties.
Federal overtime and wage and hour law pursuant to the FLSA provides that employees must earn minimum wage and that employees who are not exempt must be paid overtime at a rate of one and one-half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any workweek. Even though this sounds straightforward, many employers either inadvertently or deliberately fail to pay employees the wages they are due. As a result unpaid overtime is one of the greatest sources of employee complaints. If you believe your employer has failed to pay you the minimum wages or overtime you are entitled to, an experienced wage and hour lawyer can provide you critical advice concerning your next steps.
Here, the alleged violations included the failure of Huddle House to meet the federal minimum wage. Employees were not paid minimum wage for several different reasons including:
• For tipped employees, wages plus tips earned for all hours worked amounted to less that $7.25/hour;
• Tipped employees were required to share tips with non-tipped employees, lowering the wages to less than minimum wage; and
• Some non-tipped employees such as cooks were paid at a rate lower than minimum wage.