St. James Tearoom settles lawsuit

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.abqjournal.com

Aubrey Johnson serves St. James Tearoom owners Mary Alice Higbie and her son Daniel Higbie in one of the tearoom’s private areas. The teahouse will pay $50,573 in back wages and damages to settle a lawsuit.

An Albuquerque teahouse and its owners will pay $50,573 in back wages and damages to settle a lawsuit filed last year by the U.S. Department of Labor, the federal agency announced Thursday.

The lawsuit against the St. James Tearoom alleged the Albuquerque business and its owners had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay required minimum and overtime wages to its employees. Investigators found the tearoom required dishwashers and serving staff to join a tip pool, resulting in minimum wage violations, according to a news release.

The mandatory tip pool included salaried managers, shift leaders, dishwashers and other employees who are not eligible for tip pools, making the entire arrangement invalid, the release said. The agency also said the teahouse didn’t keep accurate records of employees’ hours.

The lawsuit sought to recover unpaid wages and damages totaling $304,000.

Under terms of the settlement — filed Thursday in U.S. District Court — St. James and owners Mary Alice and Daniel Higbie…

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