For the most part, people do not intentionally take advantage of those that are too young or inexperienced to know better. However, everyone makes mistakes now and again. This may be the situation for a Georgia chain of restaurants that was found to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. Its wage and hour laws have deemed that the restaurant in question has violated various provisions.
The claim is that the Georgia restaurant chain failed to pay its employees minimum wage due to the deduction of lunch breaks and cost of uniforms from their pay. They found that the company failed to classify its employees properly in order for them to receive overtime pay for exceeding a 40-hour workweek. The investigation also found that teen workers under the age of 16 were allowed to work excessive hours in violation of federal laws protecting underage workers.
Since this restaurant was found in violation of the wage and hour laws of Georgia, they were ordered to pay back $104,000 to their employees and received a fine over $1,800 for allowing the minor employees to work too late. The restaurant has acknowledged its mistakes and management has since hired a new firm to keep track of their workers' hours and overtime pay. This will ensure that the company maintains compliance with the wage and hour laws.
The restaurant chain may have made a terrible error in employee classification, but mistakes happen and errors in judgment or calculation should not be the end of an otherwise lucrative venture. However unfortunate this oversight may have been, it could happen to anyone or any company. In cases like these, a qualified attorney who advocates for business owners and employers may be able to offer a fresh perspective and representation that can turn the tides. Federal Labor Standards Act mandates are designed to benefit employees and employers; qualified counsel may be able to highlight the unseen protections thereunder.
Source: ajc, "Fayetteville restaurant fined, ordered to pay $104,000 in back wages," Tammy Joyner, Sept. 6, 2011