Chief’s Place in Concord to pay $266k to waitstaff for withheld tips, penalties

Chief's Place restaurant in Penacook

Chief's Place restaurant in Penacook —Monitor staff

By Monitor staff

Published: 12-06-2023 1:00 PM

Chief’s Place restaurant in Penacook violated labor laws by failing to distribute tips to workers and also letting a 14-year-old work more hours than allowed, according to the  U.S. Department of Labor.

The Wage and Hour Division said the violations involved $133,075 in tips for 34 employees. Under the settlement, the restaurant must pay the tips to the employees, plus an equal amount in damages, as well as a $3,395 fine.

Owner George Blatsis, who has run the restaurant at 348 Village St. in Penacook for 22 years, said it was common practice to combine all tips and divide them up among all waitstaff, instead of distributing them to the employee on each customer order.

As for the charge of child labor, Blatsis said the girl had stopped working but never clocked out, and hung around because her father was working there. 

The Wage and House Division said Blatsis “violated child labor regulations by allowing a 14-year-old minor to work after 7 p.m. between Labor Day and June 1 and more than 3 hours on a school day.”

The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from keeping any portion of an employee’s tips for any purpose. 

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“Withholding them is illegal and makes it harder for workers and their families to make ends meet,” Wage and Hour District Director Steven McKinney, who is based in Manchester, said in a prepared statement. “Employers can avoid costly violations like those in this case by making sure their pay practices comply with federal law.”

The division has a Workers Owed Wages search tool that can show if people are owed back wages collected by the division.