A Texas grill chain has been ordered to pay $230,000 to workers after their tips were shared with managers

  • A chain of BBQ restaurants in Texas was ordered to pay $230,353 in arrears to employees.

  • According to Wage and Hour Division investigators, employers saved employee tips for managers.

  • The division found nearly $35 million in unpaid wages for 29,000 employees in fiscal 2021.

Labor Department investigators found that a Texas grill chain owes 274 employees $230,353 in back wages after employers took employees’ tips and shared them with managers.

According to a department press release, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division is directing Black’s Barbecue restaurant to pay employees back after tips were illegally withheld from employees. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers, managers and supervisors are not allowed to keep employee tips.

Black’s Barbecue Restaurant operates Black’s Barbecue Inc.; Kent Black’s Lockhart Barbecue Inc. and New Braunfels Barbecue LLC.

“Employers in the hospitality industry need to know that tips are the property of employees who deserve tips, plain and simple,” said Nicole Sellers, district manager for the Wage and Hour Division in Austin, Texas, in the department’s press release. “Workers and their families depend on their rightfully earned wages and benefits. If you take from them, you take from their families.


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The Payroll and Hours Division has identified nearly $35 million in unpaid wages for more than 29,000 hospitality industry workers for fiscal 2021. According to the Labor Department press release, most of the outstanding wages come from withheld tips, failure to pay required overtime and not paying employees for morning and night work.

Black’s BBQ shared a video with Facebook detailing the latest news surrounding the restaurant, which it described as “the whole story.”

“We’ve been in business for 90 years and our goal has always been to follow every rule, every regulation, every procedure out there, and as everyone knows, there are a lot of them,” said Kent Black, owner of Black’s Barbecue restaurant. said in the video. “We missed a rule change that affects the way tips are distributed.”


Black said the company uses another company to do its payroll, which “also missed this rule change.”

“We take responsibility for that,” Black said.

He said when the Labor Department investigated the way the restaurant pays employees, it found the error, which the restaurant “quickly corrected”.

Black said the restaurant gave checks to employees to make up the difference in tips allocated. He said the restaurant is now compliant and has received no penalties from the Department of Labor. Black said it was a “real gut punch” when he found out the restaurant was flouting the rule.

He said he was “a little surprised” when the Labor Department’s press release came out about the restaurant because the issue was resolved a year ago.

“It’s just an honest mistake and we’re sorry it happened,” Black said at the end of the video.

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