Historic eatery to pay for wage law violations
The landmark Oklahoma City restaurant Junior's Supper Club agreed to pay $52,487 in back wages and damages to nine employees after a U.S. Labor Department investigation found the restaurant violated federal minimum wages, overtime and record-keeping laws, the agency said Wednesday.
The investigation by the Labor Department's Oklahoma City District Office revealed Junior's failed to combine hours worked by employees who performed more than one job duty at the restaurant, such as if a worker was both a server and busser.
As a result, the employer failed to recognize when these employees worked more than 40 hours in a week and failed to pay them overtime as required by federal law, according to the Labor Department.
The investigation found that Junior's illegally deducted time from workers' pay when no work was available or when the owner perceived an employee to be disengaged, although workers were ready and able to work. Junior's also failed to keep an accurate record of the total number of hours employees worked in a week, according to the Labor Department.
The agency found only technical violations at Junior's and the restaurant never intentionally violated any law, said Danny Shadid, an attorney for Junior's.
“There was not any attempt to cheat any employee out of anything or do anybody harm,” Shadid said. “This emanates from nine employees staying on the clock when in fact they were not supposed to be on the clock and they were not on duty.”
Eight still work at restaurant
Shadid said that eight of the nine employees still work at Junior's, and the other left voluntarily to take another job.
Junior's Supper Club paid $26,243 in minimum-wage and overtime back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.
The restaurant also agreed to keep proper records and comply with all provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act in the future.
"Restaurant workers are among the most vulnerable workers we see in Oklahoma," Betty Campbell, regional administrator for the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, said in a statement. "If an employer requires workers to be ready to serve customers whenever they walk in, the employer must pay workers for the times when there may be no customers in the facility. These workers depend on every penny they rightfully earn; cheating them out of overtime has a tremendous impact on them and their families. The resolution of this case signals the division's commitment to protecting restaurant workers, and leveling the playing field for employers who pay their workers legally."
Once known as the "Oilman's Oasis," Junior's Supper Club was founded by Junior Simon in 1973 and is in The Oil Center at 2601 Northwest Expressway. The restaurant is famed for its steaks and once catered to some of Oklahoma's most powerful lawmakers and business executives. It has 31 employees, according to the Labor Department.