Feds say a North Side restaurant stole $41K in tips from its workers | Pittsburgh City Paper

Feds say a North Side restaurant stole $41K in tips from its workers

click to enlarge Feds say a North Side restaurant stole $41K in tips from its workers
CP Photo: Lisa Cunningham
Inside the Federal Galley food hall, which houses Provision PGH
On Dec. 1, federal investigators for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division said a restaurant on Pittsburgh’s North Side violated the fair labor standards by illegally forcing workers to share tips to pay managers, supervisors, and other employees not usually tipped by customers.

According to Wage and Hour Division District Director John DuMont, Provision PGH LLC, which is a restaurant housed inside the Federal Galley food hall, deceived employees by holding tips and not complying with the tip credit rules set in the Fair Labor Standards Act, and did so to the tune of $41,000 of the restaurant’s 12 employees.

“Tipped employees, such as cashiers, had their tips seized in order to pay the wages of non-tipped employees, including managers,” read a Department of Labor news release. “The employer used a portion of the pooled tips to pay part of the salaries of managers.”

Provision PGH has yet to release a statement on the matter.

“Restaurant workers are essential workers who depend on their tips to earn a living,” DuMont said to TribLive. “They should be paid every penny of their hard-earned wages.”

In Pennsylvania, the minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour as a base wage, and employers are required to cover the difference up to the federal minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, if tips themselves do not make up the difference. It’s unclear how much Provisions PGH pays its workers as a base wage.

According to a recent analysis from the Center for Public Integrity, restaurant workers — along with child care employees, gas station clerks, and security guards — are the most likely to be cheated out of wages by their employers. In 2019, the Center for Public Integrity said about 8,500 employers stole about $287 million from workers.

Since 2016, the Department of Labor has conducted more than 25,000 restaurant investigations and helped recover more than $195 million in back wages for more than 195,000 workers throughout the nation, according to a release.