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Brewery settles with nearly 1,200 workers on wage and hour claim

While the following story didn't occur here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, it still could have happened practically anywhere. It involves servers at a brewery not being paid what they are owed, and the fight they had to take to the brewery in civil court in order to get what they deserved.

Water Street Brewery in Wisconsin recently agreed to an $825,000 settlement with nearly 1,200 current and former servers at their four locations. Another 78 people joined in the class-action lawsuit filed by those current and former servers. The lawsuit alleged that Water Street Brewery forced servers' wages below minimum wage by making them share tips and making them pay for broken dishes and glasses. In addition, the lawsuit alleged that Water Street Brewery failed to pay workers overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a week.

The service industry is, unfortunately, ripe for this kind of financial abuse. Employers know that most of their employees are in temporary positions, and given the fluid nature of the business, it is not uncommon to see wage and hour complaints come out of restaurants and breweries. This doesn't make it acceptable, of course -- but it isn't necessarily surprising.

Any restaurant that uses a practice to artificially drop a worker's wages below the minimum wage threshold, or uses other unsavory tactics to bilk their workers out of their hard-earned money is unacceptable, and they should be held accountable for their actions.

Source: Journal Sentinel, "Water Street Brewery agrees to settle class-action lawsuit filed by servers over wages," Guy Boulton, July 14, 2017


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