The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, has ordered Brinker International Inc. – operating as Maggiano’s Little Italy in Atlanta, Georgia – and its subsidiary, Brinker International Payroll Company LP, to pay $49,500 in back wages and liquidated damages to 70 employees for violating the minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The action comes after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD).

Specifically, WHD investigators found the employer required certain tipped employees to arrive before the opening of the restaurant to perform prep work, but did not record or pay employees for this work time. This practice resulted in failure to pay the required minimum wage and failure to pay employees required overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. WHD also found the restaurant failed to maintain and preserve accurate records of the number of hours worked by employees, a violation of the FLSA recordkeeping requirements.

“Employers are obligated to pay employees the wages they have legally earned. Our enforcement ensures employers that violate the law do not to gain an unfair competitive advantage over those that comply,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Eric Williams, in Atlanta. “The U.S. Department of Labor encourages all employers to reach out to their local Wage and Hour Division office for information about how to comply, and to avoid violations.”

The Department’s Office of the Solicitor filed a complaint against Brinker International and Brinker International Payroll to remedy the violations found in this investigation. Brinker International and Brinker International Payroll settled with the Department and the parties filed a consent judgment and order that the court approved on January 25, 2019. In addition to being ordered to pay the back wages and damages, both Brinker International entities are enjoined from committing future violations under the FLSA.