Labor Dept. sues NM restaurant over unpaid wages

December 9, 2013 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against an Albuquerque restaurant over more than $300,000 in unpaid wages for 42 employees.

The suit alleges the St. James Tearoom and [auth] its owners, Mary Alice and Daniel Higbie, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

It seeks to recover unpaid minimum wages, overtime pay and liquidated damages totaling $304,000.

Labor officials say investigators found the restaurant required its dishwashers and serving staff join a tip pool, resulting in minimum wage violations. They say the mandatory tip pool included employees who aren’t eligible for tip pools.

Labor officials say the Higbies also failed to pay the serving staff correct overtime wages and didn’t keep accurate records.

A call to the Higbies at the St. James Tearoom for comment wasn’t immediately returned Monday.

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