Charleston Restaurant Popped For Repeated Labor Violations
The US Department of Labor investigated numerous Charleston, SC restaurants after a news report disclosed several labor violations being committed by the city’s popular restaurants and their owners. The DOL concluded that four restaurants in the Charleston, SC area owe back wages and reparation for other labor violations.
California Dreaming, Joe Pasta, and Edmund’s Oast were cited with over 60 violations combined, although Edmund’s Oast was responsible for only one, and paid back wages of $32.74. However, the fourth Charleston restaurant, Market Street Saloon, was responsible for over 60 labor violations on its own, and owes back wages amounting to $150,721.08.
According to the federal government’s labor violations investigation, the owner of Amorous Pole and Fitness received money out of the restaurant’s tip pool between 2011 and 2013. The fitness club’s owner taught dance and choreographed routines for Market Street Saloon’s servers and bartenders. According to Market Street Saloon owner Sam Mustafa, the restaurant had a “Coyote Ugly” theme, and the tips were payment for services rendered.
Tip sharing is a controversial topic with labor laws and potential labor violations. Restaurants have been penalized for requiring tip sharing among other employees like dishwashers and cooks, or when the owners keep a portion of the employees’ tips to “cover expenses.”
The wage and labor violations at Mustafa’s business were not the owner’s first run-in with the Department of Labor. His previous restaurants Eli’s Table, Tabbuli, Whisk, Toast, and The Wreckfish were all fined by the DOL for wage and labor violations. However, Mustafa argues that he already paid for the Market Street Saloon’s labor violations and back wages, which could be a confusion between state and federal labor laws.
The South Carolina Wage Payment Act Protects Employees
The South Carolina Wage Payment Act and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provide protection to employees who are not paid for hours worked. The SC Wage Payment Act allows an employee owed wages to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for wages owed. Under the Act, you can recover up to treble (three times) damages as well as attorney’s fees.
Although both the State and federal Departments of Labor can investigate and cite businesses for labor violations, and can calculate the total amount of money the business owes in back wages, the departments cannot force a business to pay back wages to their employees. Employees should know that they have a right to their money and can file a SC wage payment lawsuit against the business to get their back wages.
The Strom Law Firm Fights for Compensation on Behalf of Employees Owed Wages
If you work for a business that requires overtime without overtime pay, leaves you in hazardous working conditions, requires tip pools or tip sharing in violation of state law, or commits another type of labor or wage payment violation, you may have a SC wage payment lawsuit. This type of lawsuit can help you and your fellow employees receive the back wages you worked hard to earn. Contact the SC employment litigation attorneys at the Strom Law Firm for a free, confidential consultation today. 803.252.4800