There are literally thousands of restaurants in West Virginia and elsewhere around the country. Employees often work long hours prepping food to cook, serving customers and cleaning up after closing. While most business owners adhere to applicable labor laws, there are some who find themselves struggling with overtime and wage issues. In fact, an owner of two restaurants in another state has been required to pay back wages and damages to his employees following an investigation.

The U.S. Department of Labor discovered that the employees at the two restaurants were being paid only their straight wage rate, although they were working over 40 hours a week. This is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act that requires any hours worked over 40 to be paid at a time and a half rate. The restaurant owner must pay 91 current and former employees over $100,000 in back wages and damages.

The restaurants were also required to pay a fine of almost $2,400 for violations of child labor laws. Three 15-year-old employees worked more hours than allowed and also worked later than the time limit prescribed during the school year. The owner claimed that the violations involving the minors as well as the overtime issues occurred when he was opening his second establishment. He stated in reports that he was unaware of the overtime pay requirements or the limits on employing younger workers.

If an employee suspects that a business is in violation of laws involving overtime and wage issues, it would be wise to contact a West Virginia employment law attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer will help workers understand their options and how best to proceed with the legal process. The common goal is to recover any back wages or benefits to which someone is entitled and to seek recovery of monetary damages appropriate to the circumstances.