Buckner’s Family Restaurant has paid more than $100,000 in back wages and other costs to 26 employees for violations of overtime requirements, federal officials said Thursday.
The restaurant, off Bucksnort Road near Interstate 75 at Ga. Highway 36, paid $100,326 in back wages and liquidated damages to the 26 employees after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Investigators found violations of overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Department of Labor said.
The Wage and Hour Division determined Buckner’s Family Restaurant paid employees straight-time rates for all the hours they worked, without regard to whether they worked more than 40 hours in a week, officials said in a news release. The practice resulted in violations when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek without being paid overtime as required by law.
The restaurant also failed to maintain accurate records, labor officials said.
“Employers need to ensure that they pay employees all the wages they have legally earned,” Atlanta Wage and Hour District Director Eric Williams said. “We encourage all employers to make use of the resources we provide to help them understand their responsibilities under the law. Violations like those found in this case can quickly become costly, and can be avoided.”
Buckner’s was founded in 1980 and is known for Southern staples like fried chicken served family-style around a lazy Susan.
Co-owner Drew Buckner said the violations date back a year and that Buckner’s resolved the case with the Labor Department eight months ago. He said the restaurant discovered the violations during a routine audit and self-reported to the Department of Labor.
“We worked with them side by side to get everything taken care of,” he said.
Buckner attributed the violations to a problem with a third-party online payroll processing service. He said the restaurant’s roughly 55 employees are well paid by industry standards, with some having worked there nearly 30 years.
Buckner said he hopes the restaurant’s experience will encourage other local small businesses to pay closer attention to bookkeeping and employee wages.
“Things are more under a microscope than ever,” he said.