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Metro Diner ordered to pay over $154K in back wages

Restaurant found guilty of violating federal Labor Act

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Metro Diner restaurant at Jacksonville Beach is in hot water with the federal government over violations of the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The U.S. Labor Department says Windy City Doc Holding LLC, which owns the Metro Diner's franchises in Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach, made illegal deductions from workers’ pay when it charged servers for their uniforms, which resulted in them earning less than the legally required federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in the weeks that they paid for those items.

The practice of sharing the tips of tipped employees at the beaches restaurant with non-tipped workers, such as dishwashers, also contributed to the minimum wage violations for affected servers.

The restaurant also calculated overtime incorrectly when it based servers’ overtime rates on time and a half of their direct cash wages, rather than basing it on the full minimum wage, as required.

According to the Labor Department, the issue was resolved with the owners paying 59 employees $154,179 in back wages.

“Restaurant workers are among the most vulnerable that we see,” said Daniel White, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Jacksonville. “Violations such as those found in this case are all too common. When these workers aren’t paid every penny they have rightfully earned, it harms not just the workers, but their families, and their communities. We will continue our enforcement in this industry, along with our education and outreach activities, to ensure that workers are paid what they’ve earned, and to level the playing field for employers who play by the rules.”

Metro Diner's corporate office wanted to make it clear that this was an isolated incident at one restaurant run by a franchisee.

The ownership of Metro Diner regrets that the actions of an individual who formerly worked with its sole franchisee, Windy City Doc Holding LLC, which resulted in U.S. Department of Labor wage violations. These violations were limited to one franchisee location in Jacksonville Beach and the General Manager, employed by Windy City Holding Doc LLC, who was responsible was immediately removed when these violations first surfaced.  Windy City Doc Holding LLC has complied with the Fair Labor Standards Act to clear all repayments. Metro Diner immediately conducted its own internal investigation while cooperating fully with the Department of Labor, and as a result,  can confirm that this was an independent action perpetrated by one individual, solely at this franchisee location and has been resolved in full."

For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd


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