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Texas BBQ restaurant now in compliance after failing to pay nearly $900,000 in tips and overtime

Roanoke Hard Eight BBQ owed $867,572 in tips and pay for 910 workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

ROANOKE, Texas — A Texas employer failed to pay its employees nearly $900,000 in tips and overtime pay, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

The North Texas restaurant Roanoke Hard Eight BBQ owed its employees all their tips and hourly managers weren’t paid the correct time and a half rate for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. This came out to $867,572 in owed tips and pay for 910 workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Fair Labor Standards Act does not allow an employer or their managers or supervisors to keep tips the business’ workers receive for any purposes, regardless of whether or not the employer claims a tip credit.

Roanoke Hard Eight broke the law by including managers in their tip pool, according to Dallas' Wage and Hour District Director Jesus A. Valdez.

"By doing so, the employer denied tipped workers some of their tips and managers proper overtime wages,” Valdez said. “As businesses struggle to find people to do the work needed to keep operating, employers would be wise to avoid violations or risk finding it even more difficult to retain and recruit workers who can choose to seek jobs where they will receive all of their rightful wages.”

The Department of Labor said its audit recovered those funds after launching the investigation.

Chad Decker is co-owner of Hard Eight BBQ. He shared with WFAA why he got into the restaurant business years ago. 

"I have the joy of the people service industry. I've always been a people person. Our families always enjoyed cooking and getting around and have a family setting, and so we started our first restaurant in Stephenville, Texas in 2003," Decker said. "And it's just grown. We've been blessed to be where we're at because it's grown so much. We are such a family and such a family-oriented place to come and dine."

Decker said the restaurant got into hot water by adding managers to their tip share program, which has been against state regulations since 2018. He wants their customers to know now, that every single tip goes to Hard Eight BBQ employees.

"Immediately when we received notification from labor force, immediately we changed our protocol and how the tip shares were distributed," said Decker.

The Department of Labor confirmed that Hard Eight BBQ is in 100% compliance after paying the back wages and tips to their employees, something the restaurant owners want their customers to know.

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