WATERLOO — The owner of a downtown Waterloo bar and grill has released a statement on a pending settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor over employee wages.
Ivan Wieland said in a prepared statement that he was unaware rules regarding tipped employees changed in 2011, and he didn’t know his company wasn’t in compliance.
“It is routine practice in the restaurant business to ask servers to share a small portion of their tips with other employees such as bartenders, bussers and food runners. The Screaming Eagle carried the practice a little further, asking servers to also share a small portion of their tips with kitchen staff,” Wieland said it the statement, which was posted on the establishment’s Facebook page. “Unfortunately, requiring tip sharing with the kitchen staff violated the law.”
He said allegations of overtime pay violations came from the practice of allowing Screaming Eagle employees who wanted to work beyond 40 hours a week to work at his other restaurants. He said he believed that since the extra hours were for another company, overtime pay — time and a half — wasn’t required.
“There was never any intent to avoid paying any employee the wage to which he or she was entitled,” Wieland said in the statement. “Anyone who knows me, or my company, knows I would never, ever, intentionally cheat my employees.”
He said employees who be will receiving payment through the pending agreement always received at least minimum wage and generally more than minimum wage.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a complaint and proposed consent judgment with Screaming Eagle’s parent company, DaJerAbby Inc. Under the agreement, which has yet to be finalized by a judge, the company will pay $55,000 for overtime and minimum wage compensation and other damages to a list of 103 employees.
The business will forward the employees’ contact information to Labor officials, who will distribute the funds to the employees, minus withholding and Social Security taxes. Distribution amounts will be determined by Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, taking into consideration each individual’s work hours, according to Rhonda Burke, a Department of Labor spokesperson.