Carolina Beach restaurant owner ordered to pay $40K in back wages to employees

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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A district court judge has ordered the owner of Hurricane Alley’s and the former owner of The Dive restaurants in Carolina Beach to pay more than $40,500 in back wages to 30 employees.

The order comes after an investigation by the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division found violations of minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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According to officials, the investigation found that David Cole violated the minimum wage requirements when he required tipped-employees to work only for tips. Since Cole reportedly paid no wages to the tipped-employees, he owed the workers the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Officials say Cole also claimed all employees to be independent contractors rather than employees. The US Department of Labor says the inaccurate classification resulted in overtime violations when he paid straight time to hourly employees when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, instead of the required time-and-one-half their regular rates.

Investigators also found reportedly Cole failed to maintain required payroll records, an FLSA recordkeeping violation.

In addition to being ordered to pay the back wages, Cole, Hurricane Alley LLC, and Diver Down LLC are enjoined from committing future violations under the FLSA.