Philadelphian Bottle Bar East's owner has been ordered to pay US$520,000 for violating federal wage-and-hour laws.
According to a federal investigation, the Bottle Bar East's operators, BHMK Enterprises LLC, has violated the Fair Labour Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping requirements.
Bartenders and servers were not paid wages, forcing them to work for tips only. Workers were required to attend unpaid staff cleaning meetings, and both front and back-of-house employees were not paid overtime.
Jim Cain, Philadelphia's Labour department wage and hour division district director, said restaurant workers are some of the most vulnerable in the service industry, which is why the wage and hour division will continue to hold employers accountable.
To avoid costly violations like this one, Cain suggests that other employers should make sure their pay practices comply with the law.
After months of litigation, the bar operator has agreed to pay the ordered $246,457 in back wages, the same amount in damages, and $25,729 in penalties to its 73 bartenders, servers, cooks and dishwashers.