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17 Austin restaurant workers paid a total of $170K in back wages following federal investigation

The U.S. Department of Labor said Biryani N Grill failed to pay employees for overtime at North and South Austin restaurant locations.
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Defocused image of restaurant interior

AUSTIN, Texas — A federal investigation has led to the recovery of $170,000 in back wages and liquidated damages from the owner of two Austin-area restaurants who denied overtime pay to 17 employees who worked 60 hours a week, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday.

A district court required the operator of Biryani N Grill locations in North and South Austin to pay the back wages earlier this year following the judgment back in June. 

The judgment came after two investigations found the restaurant paid workers a flat salary and initially claimed that, as independent contractors, they were ineligible for overtime pay. In a subsequent investigation, the employer provided falsified receipt forms to suggest they did pay the back wages when they had not.

They also failed to correct pay practices that resulted in Fair Labor Standards Act violations, and failed to keep accurate records as required by law.

“Restaurant workers provided essential service and supported the economy throughout the worst of the pandemic, and still its industry’s workers – and their families – are victimized by their employer’s wage theft,” said Wage and Hour Division Southwest Regional Administrator Betty Campbell. “The U.S. Department of Labor will vigorously pursue corrective action to hold violators responsible, deter future violations and prevent violators from cheating their competitors.”

Those involved also agreed to an injunction to prohibit B&G North LLC and Sir Sai Balaji LLC from future FLSA overtime and recordkeeping provisions.

“The outcome provides much-needed relief to vulnerable workers who depend on those wages to make ends meet,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor John Rainwater in Denver. “The U.S. Department of Labor will use every tool available to ensure the rights of workers are not violated.”

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