Whiskey cocktail

Wigle Whiskey ordered to pay $39,000 for forcing employees to share tips with managers

Owners of Wigle Whiskey have been ordered by the US Department of Labor to re-give nearly $39,000 to 41 employees after an investigation showed servers were required to share tips with managers and supervisors.

Pittsburgh Distilling Co., which operates as Wigle Whiskey, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by allowing managers to keep tips and failing to pay, according to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. tipped employees the appropriate overtime rate of pay.

A message left at the distillery was not immediately returned.

A Department of Labor spokesperson said Wigle complied with the order after an investigation, reimbursing the workers $38,951.

Federal law prohibits any employer, manager or supervisor from keeping any part of workers’ tips, according to a press release issued by the Department of Labor,

Wigle also based overtime pay for its tipped employees on a cash wage of $4 an hour, instead of the federal minimum wage of $7.25, as required by law.

The investigation also showed that the company was also underpaying overtime for managers.

“Food service workers rely on their hard-earned tips to make ends meet. Restaurant employers need to understand that it is illegal to withhold tips from workers or to divert a portion of those tips to managers or supervisors in a tip pool,” said John DuMont, district manager of the wages and hours in Pittsburgh. “As restaurants struggle to fill the positions they need to keep their doors open, those who deny workers their legitimate wages are likely to have a harder time retaining and recruiting workers than law-abiding employers. “

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 740,000 workers in the food service industry quit their jobs in April, and there were more than 1.3 million of those job openings.

According to Wigle’s website, they currently operate the distillery, which is a tasting room, bottle store, cocktail bar, and kitchen on Smallman Street in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, as well as a tasting room, a bottle shop and cocktail bar at Ross Park Mall. Last spring, Wigle announced it was hiring to fill 99 positions as businesses began to emerge from the covid-19 pandemic.

Paula Reed Ward is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Paula by email at pward@triblive.com or via Twitter .