CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The owners of La Hacienda will pay nearly $1.2 million in back wages to employees of 13 Charleston area restaurants following an investigation by the US Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division.
Authorities say the business' violations stemmed from the employer's practice of requiring servers to give a percentage of their tips back to the employer, and requiring three servers to work for only tips.
According to the US Labor Department, La Hacienda and its owners will pay a total of $1,179,045 to 119 employees, which includes $589,523 in back wages and an additional equal amount in liquidated damages for all affected employees who worked at any of the 13 restaurants from Aug. 13, 2011 to Dec. 13, 2014.
"Our investigation of these 13 Charleston-area restaurants found many low-wage employees working long hours without any overtime compensation and, at times, earning wages far below the federal minimum wage. Labor violations like these are unfortunately all too common in the restaurant industry," said Jamie Benefiel, director of the division's Columbia office. "The Wage and Hour Division is resolute in its commitment to increasing compliance in this industry. Our investigators continue to make unannounced visits at restaurants throughout South Carolina and assess liquidated damages – where appropriate – to remedy widespread labor violations and ensure a level playing field for law-abiding employers."