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Popular Minneapolis restaurant group agrees to pay workers $230K in missing wages

The Bartmann Group laid off workers during the COVID-19 shutdown but did not pay workers their last paychecks.

A local restaurant group that owns several popular spots in Minneapolis has agreed to pay its employees more than $230,000 in back wages and overtime following a settlement with the Minnesota Attorney General's (AG) Office. 

The AG's office began investigating the Bartmann Group (Barbette, Pat's Tap, Tiny Diner, Bread and Pickle, Red Stag Superclub, Book Club, Trapeze and Cafe Wyrd) last year after receiving "numerous" complaints from employees. 

The restaurant group had laid off workers during the COVID-19 shutdown in March but did not pay workers their last paychecks from right before the lockdown, the AG's office said in a Friday news release.

When the AG's office interviewed Bartmann Group employees about their missing wages, it learned the company also violated the state's overtime law. Employees were working for multiple Bartmann restaurants but weren't getting paid overtime when they worked more than 40 hours per week, the release said.

“Everyone should take home every dollar they earn, including overtime wages. It’s hard enough for people to afford their lives: when wages are stolen or illegally withheld, it’s that much harder,” Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement. “I’m pleased that the Bartmann Companies was willing to cooperate with my office and to make things right with its workers. I hope that the damages these employees will receive help repair some of the harm to them from not getting all of the wages they were owed under the law on time.”

The restaurant group settled with the AG's office and agreed to pay employees more than $230,000. The Bartmann Group has already paid $98,980.94 in back wages and $66,105.92 in overtime wages to workers dating back to 2018, the release says. And under the terms of an assurance of discontinuance filed in Ramsey County District Court on Thursday, the company said it would pay an additional $66,105.92 in liquidated damages.

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The Bartmann Group also agreed to a stayed civil penalty of $100,000, which the state can seek if the company breaks the law regarding paying employees their earned wages in the next eight years.

The restaurant group is also required to put a written overtime policy in place that addresses sharing workers between restaurants. 

Ellison's office says wage theft is "endemic" in the restaurant industry, noting restaurant workers are subject to overtime violations, tip loss through tip pooling and increasingly through the use of mandatory service fees to customers (something the AG's office says the purpose and destination of which is not clear). 

Workers who have concerns or complaints about wage law violations can contact the AG's office online here or by calling 651- 296-3353.

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