Aquarius Restaurant Violated Employment Laws

Aquarius Restaurant violated minimum wage, and overtime laws; assessed $35K in penalties

FORT LEE, NJ (STL.News) The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered more than $300,000 in back wages and liquidated damages for 63 workers at a Fort Lee restaurant after an investigation found the employer’s pay practices violated federal minimum wage and overtime regulations.

Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined Aquarius Restaurant Group Corp. violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements by:

  • Paying employees a day rate, regardless of the number of hours they worked, which led to overtime violations.
  • Using checks and cash to pay a semi-monthly salary to kitchen staff.
  • Failing to pay tipped employees time-and-one-half the regular rate of pay for hours over 40 in a workweek.

In addition to recovering $150,805 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, the division assessed $35,274 in civil money penalties for the willful nature of the employer’s violations.

“Most people employed in the restaurant industry work long hours to support themselves and their families, and they have the right to be paid all of their earned wages,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Paula Ruffin in Mountainside, New Jersey.  “Aquarius Restaurant Group Corp. failed to fulfill their legal responsibilities and has faced the costly consequences for shortchanging their employees.”

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor