Houlihan's accused of non-payment of overtime and tip theft

California individuals who work in the restaurant industry rely very heavily on their tips, as they constitute the bulk of their incomes. Workers who lose tips that they have earned or those who are not given payment for all of their hours worked may suffer from undue hardship. Employees who worked at Houlihan's in another state claim that over $40,000 of their tips were stolen and that they were not paid overtime. The president of A.C.E. Restaurant Group, as well as a co-owner, are now facing the accusations brought forth by the U.S. Department of Labor in a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit includes 1,430 affected employees. According to the complaint, bartenders and servers were required to turn over a percentage of their tips to be added to a pool. Allegedly, the money in this pool was given to other workers who did not receive tips, such as janitors and kitchen staff. Managers had apparently also taken a portion of the money. This practice apparently went on for years.

The workers also allegedly had deductions taken from their pay checks to account for employee meals, but those meals were also being paid for by the workers. In addition, A.C.E is being accused of not paying the employees when they worked overtime. They also were not getting full pay for all of the hours they had worked.

According to the complaint, A.C.E. violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by stealing tips and not giving the plaintiffs everything that they earned. The lawsuit is seeking payment of the lost wages, as well as injunctive relief to prevent these violations from happening in the future. California employees who believe they have been the victims of wage theft can seek out a person knowledgeable in employment law to assist them in pursuing the money to which they believe to be entitled.

Source: nj.com, "N.J. restaurant company accused of pocketing more than $40K in tips", Noah Cohen, Oct. 2, 2015

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