Feds: Upstate restaurant chain denied workers overtime pay

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

STATE — The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered more than half a million dollars in back wages and damages for more than 200 employees following an investigation into an Upstate restaurant chain with a location in Pickens County.

The Easley location of Tipsy Taco was among the six locations investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour investigators, according to a news brief issued by the agency.

The investigators found that Tipsy Holding II LLC, operating as Tipsy Taco, failed to pay the half-time premium to cooks, servers and bar employees for hours over 40 in a workweek, an overtime violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the brief said.

“As food service industry employers struggle to find people to fill the jobs needed to remain competitive, they should remember that keeping and finding workers is harder for employers who don’t respect workers’ rights and shortchange them of their full wages,” Columbia-based Wage and Hour district director Jamie Benefiel said. “Overtime violations are common in the restaurant industry, but they shouldn’t be. There are more than enough resources available to employers to help them understand their obligations to employees under the law.”

The employer also failed to keep accurate records for workers, the brief said.

The brief said $567,079 in back wages and liquidated damages for 215 workers were recovered.

In addition to the Easley location, the sites investigated were the Greer and Simpsonville restaurants and the locations on Wade Hampton Boulevard, Conestee Avenue and Pelham Road in Greenville, the brief said.

The agency’s Wage and Hour Division recovered more than $27.1 million for more than 22,000 workers in the food service industry in fiscal year 2022, the brief said.

Workers who feel they may not be getting the wages they earned may contact a Wage and Hour Division representative in their state. Representatives can be found by visiting