Waiters working in Wisconsin restaurants generally rely on their tips to make up the bulk of their wages. However, those tips are supposed to be on top of their otherwise regular wages. When an employer refuses to pay wages to tipped employees, he or she could be held accountable for employment law violations.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division conducted an investigation into an out-of-state restaurant owner after claims that he shorted employees on pay surfaced. The results of the investigation determined that he had violated multiple requirements in the Fair Labor Standards Act. These included violations for overtime, minimum wage and record keeping.

The employer apparently refused to pay wages to tipped employees and also claimed that his workers were independent contractors instead of employees. He used the misclassification of workers to try and get away with not paying overtime wages to employees who worked more than 40 hours in a week. For these violations he was ordered to pay over $40,500 for back owed wages to 30 of his employees. This includes $7.25 in federal minimum wage to tipped employees and those who did not receive owed overtime.

It might feel impossible to deal with an employer who violates employment law and does not pay his or her workers a fair wage. Some people in Wisconsin might fear that they will lose their jobs for speaking out, further exasperating any financial struggles they could already be dealing with. While overwhelming, no one has to go through this process alone. An experienced attorney can provide invaluable guidance when filing a civil lawsuit against an employer who engaged in unfair or illegal wage practices.