Uptown restaurant pays $697K in back wages for violating minimum wage, overtime requirements

A popular restaurant on Chicago's North Side was ordered to pay $697,295 in back wages for 60 employees following an investigation.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division says Tank Noodle Inc. in Uptown owed some workers more than $10,000 each in back wages and violated numerous minimum wage and overtime requirements.

Additionally, the department found that the employer failed to keep accurate records of hours employees worked, as the law requires.

"This investigation recovered a considerable amount of back wages for 60 employees in an industry whose essential workers are often among the lowest paid in our society," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Thomas Gauza in Chicago. "Failing to accurately record the hours employees work does not prevent a federal investigation, the discovery of violations and ultimately, back wage recovery."


Throughout the investigation, the agency found that the restaurant employed some servers to work only for tips and failed to pay them any direct wages.

Additionally, Tank Noodle shorted servers when the employer pooled tips each day and divided them evenly among the staff, which included management.

The Fair Labor Standards Act does not permit management to participate in tip pooling arrangements.

The investigation also revealed that the restaurant violated overtime requirements when it paid some workers flat amounts per day, regardless of the hours they worked.

The department says they offer numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, you contact the helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).