A Florida Keys restaurant was forced to pay employees more than $73,000 in back wages after violating overtime and record-keeping laws, the U.S. Department of Labor said.
FL Food Services LLC, which operates as Porky’s Bayside Restaurant and Marina, 1410 Overseas Highway in Marathon, paid $73,626 to 35 employees.
A federal investigation found the waterside eatery paid workers overtime at straight-time rates in cash and also incorrectly deemed some workers to be independent contractors rather than employees.
The inaccurate classification caused overtime violations when the employer paid these employees straight-time cash payments for all hours that they worked, including hours beyond 40 in a work week.
The restaurant also failed to post Fair Labor Standards Act posters.
“Employers that fail to pay employees the wages they have legally earned must not gain a competitive advantage over those that comply with the law,” said Tony Pham, Wage and Hour Division Miami District Director.
But it was no secret to workers at Porky’s that they weren’t earning overtime pay, an owner said.
Workers often take on the extra work so they don’t have to work a second or third job, said co-owner Sean Johnson.
“They understand I can’t pay $20 an hour in overtime,” he said. “That’s just not feasible to stay in business. A good majority of restaurants do the same thing.”
The U.S. Department of Labor said restaurant owners and all employers may reach out to their local Wage and Hour Division office for information about how to comply and how to avoid violations.
For information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).