BEACH HAVEN – A popular LBI eatery is in hot water after an investigation found that the restaurant violated federal overtime regulations, according to a statement released by the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) on Feb. 28.
The Chicken or The Egg, commonly known as “The Chegg” in Beach Haven, is required to pay back $768,548 in back wages, liquidated damages, and penalties for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the labor provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program, stated the WHD. Operating as The Chicken or The Egg, Cramark, Inc., failed to pay employees time and a half for excess hours in a 40 hour work week.
“Instead, the employer always recorded fewer than 40 hours on the payroll each week, regardless of the actual number of hours worked, and paid for overtime hours in cash, unrecorded,” read the statement. “This failure to record all the hours employees worked or the cash payments violated FLSA recordkeeping requirements.”
The restaurant will also have to pay $359,077 to 23 employees in back wages along with an equal amount in liquidated damages, and $7,792 in H-2B back wages to two employees. The Chegg also faces a $42,602 fine for the “willful nature of the wage violations.”
The Chicken or The Egg also managed to violate requirements of the H-2B visa program which requires the employer to “furnish each H-2B employee, on or before each payday, with a written statement accurately listing their total earnings each workweek in the pay period.”
The establishment also allowed three H-2B employees to work as bussers as opposed to their approved position in food preparation, for which the employer paid these employees less than the prevailing wage rates required for H-2B workers in Ocean County, according to the US Dept. of Labor.
“The U.S. Department of Labor ensures the labor standards of the FLSA and H-2B visa program are followed to protect workers,” said Wage and Hour District Director Charlene Rachor, in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. “Our efforts ensure that employers understand and abide by the provisions of the program to safeguard American employees against displacement while protecting foreign workers from being paid less than the wage they were promised.”
The Chicken or The Egg has also agreed to comply with FLSA and H-2B provisions from now on.