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Baristas Coffee Co. Settle Back Wages Lawsuit

Seattle-based Baristas Coffee Co. has settled a back wages lawsuit brought against them by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Under the terms of the settlement, two Baristas’ company officers, Barry Henthron and T. Scott Steciw, must pay $50 thousand in back wages, and $25 thousand in damages to 45 current and former employees
In 2011, an investigation of Baristas by the DOL’s wage and hour division revealed the company allowed customers to pay employees at espresso stands with checks that were unsigned and had insufficient funds. This resulted in the espresso employees being paid less than the federal minimum wage for the hours worked.

The investigation also revealed that employees working more than 40 hours in a week were not being paid the proper overtime, and the coffee company was not maintaining adequate records of hours worked and wages paid to employees. The DOL brought suit against Baristas in September 2011.

In addition to the back wages and damages, the settlement order requires Baristas to pay $10 thousand in civil money penalties and enjoins the company from future Fair Labor Standard Act violations.

Under the FLSA, covered employees are to be paid at least the minimum wage for regular hours worked. For any hours worked over 40 in a week, the FLSA requires covered employees to be paid at one and one-half times their regular rates. The FLSA also requires employers to maintain adequate and accurate records of wages and hours paid to employees.

Baristas operates espresso stands nationwide and also does business as Pangea Networks, Inc.

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