October 3, 2022

Volume XII, Number 276

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September 30, 2022

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US Department of Labor Recovers $230K in Back Wages for 274 Austin-Area Restaurants' Workers Denied Full Tips by Employer

Black’s Barbecue Inc. shared servers’ tips with managers

AUSTIN, TX – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $230,353 in back wages for 274 workers employed by a popular central Texas barbecue restaurant operator after an investigation found the employer gave a portion of employee tips to restaurant managers – a practice not allowed by federal law.

Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found Black’s Barbecue Inc.; Kent Black’s Lockhart Barbecue Inc. and New Braunfels Barbecure LLC – all with the same ownership and operating as Black’s Barbecue restaurant – kept a portion of the employees’ tips and shared them with managers illegally. The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers, managers and supervisors from keeping tips the business’ employees receive for any purposes, whether or not the employer takes a tip credit.

“Food service industry employers must know that tips are the property of tipped employees who earn them, plain and simple,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Nicole Sellers in Austin, Texas. “Workers and their families depend on their rightfully earned wages and benefits. If you take from them, you take from their families. The Wage and Hour Division is committed to safeguarding the rights of all essential food service workers.”

Black’s Barbecue Inc. and Kent Black’s Lockhart Barbecue Inc. has operated for three generations in Texas. In addition to Lockhart, the employer has locations in Austin, New Braunfels and San Marcos.

In fiscal year 2021, the division identified nearly $35 million in back wages owed to more than 29,000 food service industry workers. In its food service investigations, the division commonly finds violations related to employers retaining tips, failing to pay overtime when required and not paying for pre- and post-shift work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in food preparation and service occupations will grow 20 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, and gain about 2.3 million jobs. These occupations are among the nation’s lowest paid groups. Employers who ensure their workers are paid their rightful wages and benefits will be best positioned to retain and recruit skilled workers.

Read the full press release on the DOL website here

© Copyright 2022 U.S. Department of LaborNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 263
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About this Author

The Department of Labor (DOL) fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements. In carrying out this mission, the Department administers a variety of Federal labor laws including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and...

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