Los Amigos’ Settlement not Kalamazoo’s Only Service Industry Payout
By now you've heard that Los Amigos Mexican restaurants in Portage and Kalamazoo have agreed on a $225,000 settlement to be dispersed between at least 80 employees stemming from a lawsuit that goes back to 2014. The employees that will be paid out all claim that Los Amigos violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying overtime, and in some instances paid employees a flat wage regardless of hours worked, which, in most cases, resulted in employees working for less than minimum wage. If this sounds familiar, that's because it is...
Remember the Sophia's House of Pancakes fiasco back in 2016? The owners of the restaurant chain required that servers in Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo pay out $2 an hour from their tips just to work there. They were also not paid for work done pre or post shift. Behind the scenes, the kitchen staff was paid a flat rate regardless of number of hours worked. Sophia's House of Pancaskes had to pay out $250,000 in back pay to nearly 120 employees between the two cities.
The restaurant industry doesn't work like other industries, that's for sure. For one thing, employers are required to pay servers in Michigan at least $3.67 an hour, with the understanding that they will make up the rest of their wage through tips. So when employers start to mess with employees' wages, it cuts even deeper than it would in other industries. If an employer is only shelling out $3.67 an hour for service, they have no business withholding paychecks.