HOUSTON – Bernie’s Burger Bus will pay $62,754 to settle overtime and record-keeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, according to the department.
“The Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring employees receive all the wages they have rightfully earned, and that employers compete on a level playing field,” Betty Campbell, Southwest Regional Wage and Hour Division administrator, said.
The Bellaire and Katy locations were accused of violations, a news release from the federal agency said. The companies, Bernie’s Bellaire LLC and Bernie’s Katy LLC, operate three locations in the Houston area.
A news release said the The Wage and Hour Division found the companies “failed to pay legally required overtime to 49 servers, cooks, and dishwashers and failed to maintain required records.”
“Employees were paid straight-time rates for their overtime hours instead of the time-and-one-half required by law after failing to combine hours that employees had worked at two separate locations for the company when determining whether overtime was due,” according to the news release. “The companies also failed to display required FLSA posters at its work sites and failed to maintain a record of employee addresses.”
Justin Turner, chef and owner of Bernie's Burger Bus, issued this statement to KPRC2:
"There were prolific lessons I learned in the transition from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar business and FLSA processes were absolutely one of those. Upon being made aware of the inaccuracies of my timekeeping in the beginning days of Bernie's, I immediately made all the necessary reparations and payments in accordance to the Department of Labor. Our employees are the heart of the restaurant and the fact that we have three thriving restaurants today is only because of their hard work and support. This wasn’t a situation of malice, but simply trial and error. While it's unfortunate this was a part of my company’s history, I’m proud that I’ve since hired a management team who is knowledgeable about the administrative parts of my business, so I can focus on what I do best."