The U.S. Department of Labor has placed an order against a respected restaurant chain that bills it as the state’s. “oldest BBQ joint”$230,353 in back wages to be paid over allegations that it shared tips with managers, in violation of federal law.

According to the Labor Department the order will affect 274 workers at Black’s Barbecue. The 90-year old business has locations in Austin and New Braunfels as well as Lockhart.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act bars businesses and their managers from keeping tips given to employees for any purpose.

“Food service industry employers must know that tips are the property of tipped employees who earn them, plain and simple,”Nicole Sellers, Wage and Hour Division Director, stated this in an online statement. “Workers and their families depend on their rightfully earned wages and benefits. If you take from them, you take from their families. The Wage and Hour Division is committed to safeguarding the rights of all essential food service workers.”

Kent Black, the owner of the barbecue chain, stated that the violation was due to an error made by an outside contractor in bookkeeping and that he resolved it with the Labor Department last summer. Black said that the bookkeeper is no more doing business with his company.

“We quickly resolved it and felt terrible about it,”Black said. “We love our employees, so it was a real gut-punch to me personally that the company we hired to do payroll missed that.”

While the company mistakenly paid tips to managers in violation of a 2020 rule change, Black said the business and its owners have never  taken tip money.

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