The companies, Bernie's Bellaire LLC and Bernie's Katy LLC, operate three locations in Houston – Katy, Bellaire, and the Heights.
"Employees were paid straight-time rates for their overtime hours instead of the time-and-one-half required by law after failing to combine hours that employees had worked at two separate locations for the company when determining whether overtime was due," stated a press release.
The Bellaire and Katy locations were accused of violations. The news release said the companies "failed to pay legally required overtime to 49 servers, cooks, and dishwashers and failed to maintain required records."
"The Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring employees receive all the wages they have rightfully earned, and that employers compete on a level playing field," Betty Campbell, Southwest Regional Wage and Hour Division administrator, said.
Justin Turner, chef and owner of Bernie’s Burger Bus, issued this statement to Houston Public Media:
“There were prolific lessons I learned in the transition from a food truck to a brick and mortar business and FLSA processes were absolutely one of those. Upon being made aware of the inaccuracies of my timekeeping in the beginning days of Bernies, I immediately made all the necessary reparations and payments in accordance to the Department of Labor. Our employees are the heart of the restaurant and the fact that we have three thriving restaurants today is only because of their hard work and support. This wasn't a situation of malice but simply trial and error. While its unfortunate this was a part of my company's history, I'm proud that I've since hired a management team who is knowledgeable about the administrative parts of my business, so I can focus on what I do best. Burgers."