Barton G. restaurants to pay more than $28,000 in back wages


Barton G. restaurants has agreed to pay $28,027 in back wages to 99 employees following investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The government found minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act took place at all three of Barton G.’s Miami locations: Barton G. The Restaurant in South Beach, Prelude by Barton G. inside the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami and The Villa By Barton G. in the former Versace Mansion.
This is likely to be the first of several cases about to come down against South Beach restaurateurs.
Investigators from the Department of Labor’s Miami office found violations including failure to properly pay tipped employees, such as servers and bartenders, for all hours worked. Payroll records and interviews show that many employees earned wages below the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.
Barton G. also failed to properly calculate and compensate tipped employees for all overtime hours beyond 40 hours per week. In addition, record-keeping violations meant some employees were paid a percentage of sales, which is a commission and not a tip.
Following the investigations, Barton G. agreed to pay all back wages, change its payroll systems and maintain future compliance with the federal law.
Owner Barton G. Weiss said any errors were not intentional, but simply computerized calculation errors.
“If we were wrong, we were wrong,” Weiss said. “I’ll take the hit for it. They came up with a number and I agreed to pay.”

Comment by Lowell J. Kuvin, Esq.
However, what the article does not say is that the employees who were not paid correctly have a choice of accepting what DOL thinks they are owed, or, hiring a law firm to recover their lost wages. What is the difference? A law firm such as the Law Office of Lowell J. Kuvin, LLC can ask the court for the wages you are owed as well as an equal amount in liquidated damages, while DOL will not. To put it another way, if you are owed $350 in unpaid wages, we ask for $700 plus attorney fees and costs. In my opinion, if a person gets caught walking out of a store without paying for an item, you shouldn't be allowed to just pay for the item, and walk away. What would keep you from doing the same thing again and again?

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