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Tracy Kosbau
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Taxes photoWage and Hour Audits
DOL audits now hitting closer to home

Recently, WRA has been alerting members to the threat of Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour audits. Now a restaurant in Lombard, Ill is facing more than $145,000 in back wages and damages. Thomas Gauza, district director of the Wage and Hour Division's Chicago District Office said, "We will continue our efforts to promote awareness and compliance in this industry."

In April, WRA News reported on a Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division investigation of Long Island, NY restaurants that were ordered to pay nearly $1.7 million to 363 low wage workers and over $100,000 in penalties. Last week an alert went out to WRA members about two Los Angeles, CA area restaurants that have been ordered to pay more than $344,500 in back wages and damages after audits revealed violations. These recent cases underscore the importance of staying on the right side of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and serves as a reminder that the restaurant industry remains a target.

Some of the Illinois restaurant’s alleged violations included kitchen staff being paid a straight salary for all hours worked which did not provide the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour to several employees. Employees were not compensated at one and one-half times their regular rates of pay, which must be at least minimum wage, for their hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. The company failed to keep legally required, complete and accurate records of all hours worked by its kitchen staff.

Employers that violate the FLSA are, as a general rule, liable to employees for back wages and liquidated damages payable to the workers. Restaurants in Wisconsin should review FLSA wage and hour requirements to ensure compliance and avoid any potential for these costly penalties.

To review WRA's series of alerts on avoiding DOL audits click here.

Questions? Call 800-589-3211 or email the WRA Hotline.

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Wisconsin Restaurant Association • 2801 Fish Hatchery Rd. • Madison, WI 53713 • Tel: 608.270.9950 • Toll Free: 800.589.3211 • FAX: 608.270.9960