DOL Announces Recovery of Back Overtime Pay for Two Dozen Restaurant Workers in Orlando, FL
On September 26th, 2023, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the recovery of more than $120,000 in back wages for two dozen workers who were unfairly denied overtime pay. Sand Lake Pizzeria LLC—a franchisee of Giordano’s Pizza—denied workers any cash wage when they worked overtime hours.
DOL Enforcement Action: 24 Servers in Central Florida Were Not Paid Overtime
The DOL has recovered $120,695 in back wages on behalf of 24 employees at an Orlando-based Giordano’s Pizza franchise. The federal agency determined that the franchisee was guilty of denying overtime pay and paying servers solely in tips. The employer—Sand Lake Pizzeria LLC—breached the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The FLSA requires employers to pay non-exempt employees time-and-a-half when they exceed 40 hours in a week. Notably, employers are also required to maintain accurate payroll records to ensure compliance with all aspects of the FLSA, including minimum wage regulations and overtime regulation. Florida’s state minimum wage for tipped workers is $8.98—which is higher than the federal minimum wage for these employees.
Employers are Responsible Even If They Rely On Third Party Payroll Providers
During the wage and hour investigation, the employer (Sand Lake Pizzeria LLC) claimed a third-party managed their payroll. The employer noted that their third party payroll provider did not raise any issues about its pay practice issues. That being said, ignorance of a wage and hour violation is not an excuse. The DOL stressed that employers remain responsible for ensuring proper payment—regardless of who manages payroll. A company that fails to pay workers overtime pay can still be held liable for damages even if they wholly outsourced the task to a third party.
Tipped Employees Can Still Be Eligible for Overtime Pay Under the FLSA
There is a common misconception that tipped workers are exempt from overtime regulations. That is simply not the case. There is no provision within the FLSA that allows employers to exempt a worker from overtime pay requirements simply because that worker is paid in tips. In reality, the FLSA mandates that all eligible workers, including those who earn tips, be compensated at a rate of one and a half times their regular wage rate for any hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek.
Employers must be diligent in understanding and applying these provisions. The onus is on them to maintain accurate time and payroll records, and to ensure that their tipped employees are paid appropriately for overtime. Calculating overtime for a tipped worker can be a bit more complex than for non-tipped employees due to the inclusion of the “tip credit.” The general rule is that the employee should be paid time-and-a-half based on their direct wage.
Get Help From an Unpaid Overtime Lawyer in Florida
Were you or your loved one denied overtime pay? It is imperative that you take action to protect your rights and your interests. Contact an experienced Florida wage and hour attorney for a fully confidential review of your unpaid overtime claim.