Labor Department says restaurants stiffed employees - FOX 13 News

Labor Department says restaurants stiffed employees

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Jamilah Gill, who has worked as a hostess in the past, knows what it's like to look at a paycheck and ask: Where's the rest?!

"I would add it up and it didn't seem right. I'm like 'OK, someone is short-changing us,' " she said.

The Labor Department says 152 restaurants across Tampa Bay were found to be in violation.

In a press release, they singled out two Vallarta's Mexican Restaurants and five Frenchy's restaurants for "significant" violations.

The Labor Department says, in general, waiters were stiffed of tips, overtime pay and were docked credit card fees when customers used plastic.

"They need to realize that we are a huge asset," said Gill. "Everyone who works there is a part of the team, it's disappointing for us to have to bite our tongues."

The manager at the Vallarta's on Anderson Road says the owner paid back-wages to cooks and waiters during the two-year investigation, though they didn't agree with everything the Labor Department found.

"If it was me, I would have been like, let's get a lawyer because I don't think this is right. But he was just like, just pay for it and get it out of the way," said manager Alex Macias.

Frenchy's had no comment, but the Labor Department Says the 152 restaurants paid back more than 1,500 employees a total of $861,000.

Tim Sinnott says he's not surprised.

A local Thai restaurant recently offered him $6 per hour to wash dishes, below the minimum wage of $7.25.

"I went to high school in New Tampa and I have a lot of friends who worked at restaurants, they all told me the same thing," said Sinnott.

The restaurants also had to pay damages of $150,000, meaning total wages and fines were over $1 million.

The restaurants also promised to follow the rules.

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