New Hampshire Restaurant Shared Workers’ Tips With Managers: DOL

  • A New Hampshire burrito restaurant illegally shared its tip pool with managers, the DOL found.
  • The DOL recovered almost $62,000 in tips and damages for 39 of the restaurant’s employees.
  • Another location owned by the same chain let minors work late shifts and too many hours, the DOL said.

A New Hampshire restaurant paid almost $62,000 back to workers after it illegally shared their tips with managers, the Department of Labor said.

The Concord branch of Dos Amigos Burritos, a small burrito chain in New Hampshire, “improperly included managers in its tip pool,” the DOL said Friday.

Managers and supervisors are not allowed to keep their staff’s tips “under any circumstances,” including through tip pools, per the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Following its investigation, the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hours Division recovered $61,788 in tips and liquidated damages for 39 employees of Dos Amigos Burritos LLC “to rectify the violation and compensate them properly.”

Millions of restaurant workers have quit their jobs during the pandemic, highlighting the industry’s low wages, lack of benefits, and poor working conditions. US employers can pay tipped staff as little as $2.13 per hour, though in New Hampshire this is set at $3.26, with tips bringing their take-home pay up to a minimum of $7.25 per hour.

“Tipped workers in the food services industry rely on their hard-earned tips to make ends meet,” Steven McKinney, director of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division for Manchester, New Hampshire, said in a news release. “Restaurant employers must understand that keeping workers’ tips or diverting a portion of these tips to managers or supervisors in a tip pool is illegal.”

Dos Amigos Burritos did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, made outside of regular working hours.

The DOL also found that Dos Amigos Burritos’ Portsmouth location, which appears to have since closed, allowed three 15-year-olds to work until 10 p.m. and more than five hours on a school day.

This breaches child-labor laws set in the Fair Labor Standards Act, which stipulates that those under 16 can only work up to three hours on school days. Minors also can’t work after 7 p.m., although this extends to 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day.

The restaurant paid $2,073 in civil money penalties, the DOL said.

Earlier this month, the DOL said that some Subway, Popeyes, and Burger King franchisees in South Carolina had violated child-labor laws by letting minors work late shifts or too many hours.

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