Texas Winery Pays Nearly $160K in Back Wages, Damages

The company paid tips out to ineligible employees as quarterly bonuses.

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DALLAS — The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered nearly $160,000 in wages and damages for 69 winery and restaurant workers who were denied their full tips and wages by their employer's illegal pay practices.

The department's Wage and Hour Division found that Sloan & Williams Winery LLC of Grapevine, Texas, violated federal law by retaining and paying tips out to ineligible employees as quarterly bonuses. By doing so, the employer invalidated their tip credit which led to minimum wage violations.

Sloan & Williams also misclassified salaried employees as exempt and did not include bonuses, commissions and tips paid to ineligible employees and managers in their regular rate of pay when calculating overtime. The agency recovered $79,263 in owed wages and $79,263 in liquidated damages.

In addition, the division learned the employer allowed two minors, 14- and 15-years-old, to work illegally at times not permitted and for more hours in a work week than the law allows. The winery also failed to maintain accurate records of hours worked, payroll records and required information on all its employees. The division assessed $1,582 in penalties for child labor violations.

“By including ineligible employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips, the tip pool was invalidated. In addition, Sloan & Williams Winery LLC failed to pay tipped employees, hourly employees and salary non-exempt employees their proper overtime wages,” said Wage and Hour District Director Jesus A. Valdez in Dallas. “The department will pursue corrective action vigorously to ensure accountability, deter future violations, and prevent violators from gaining a competitive advantage.”

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