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Baristas Coffee Company to pay workers back wages

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on July 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
July 18, 2012 3:58 pm

Some 45 current and former employees of a Puget Sound-based coffee company will share $50,000 in back wages and $25,000 in liquidated damages obtained in a settlement of a lawsuit filed against Baristas Coffee Co.

The U.S. Department of Labor obtained a consent judgment and order this week under which company officers Barry Henthorn and T. Scott Steciw will pay the wages and penalties.

The Labor Department filed suit against the company last September. The suit was filed after an investigation by the Seattle office of the department’s wage and hour division found violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

“The division found that employees at espresso stands sometimes were paid with checks which were not signed or had insufficient funds, resulting in employees being paid less than the federal minimum wage for all hours worked,” the department said in a press release.

In addition, employees were not paid proper overtime wages when they worked more than 40 hours in a week. The employer also failed to keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid, the Labor Department claimed.

“Many of these workers were denied their basic wages week after week,” said Donna Hart, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Seattle District Office. “The outcome of this case highlights the need to bring strong enforcement remedies to bear when employers violate the most basic wage laws.”

The company operates espresso stands in Tacoma, Shoreline, Auburn, Kent, Seattle and Auburn. Its two Tacoma locations are at 10004 Pacific Ave. and 716 Puyallup Ave.

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