A federal investigation by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor revealed the owner of Bad Bob's BBQ on Boones Creek Road owes employees a combined $17,069.54 in back pay.
Several former employees said despite working long hours, they rarely received the minimum wage of $7.25 or overtime pay.
Former server Mary Fields said she received a base pay of $2.50 an hour plus tips. However, when the owners changed the name from Kemosabee's to Bad Bob's BBQ, Fields said there weren't enough customers to boost her and other tips to minimum wage. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, when that happens the employer is supposed to make up the difference.
"They wanted to make a big profit, but not give it back," Fields said. "They did everybody that way."
Several of Fields' former co-workers filed complaints with the Department of Labor.
"The recent investigation of your firm under the (FLSA) disclosed that your employees were not paid proper minimum wage or overtime compensation as required by the Act," a letter dated August 8, 2012 from investigators to the owner said. "While your firm has agreed to take the necessary action to comply fully with the Act in future, you have not agreed to pay the back wages due to your employees."
Owner Mayuri Patel says that was never her intention. She now lives in New Jersey, but says she asked local representatives to resolve this situation.
"I do think it's important for them to know that they're getting their money because they have earned it, they worked hard for it and there's no reason that they shouldn't have it," Patel said by phone. "When this was brought to my attention by the Department of Labor, I did contact the individuals handling this and indicated I wanted it paid."
Patel says she was under the impression her colleagues back home were taking care of this.
"I was told that the checks had been sent out, so now what I'm going to need to do is to go through legal channels if necessary to make sure that everybody receives their money," Patel said. "I'm not sure if all of the checks have been cut, but they are in the process of being sent out. For those employees that worked with me and know me, they know I'm good for it and I will personally make sure they get their money one way or another. I'd like to apologize to everybody that's waiting for their money and I apologize, because I haven't been handling it. Had I been handling it, I'm sure they would have been paid sooner."