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U.S. Department of Labor places injunction on Arkansas bar owner

Department of Labor injuncts bar owner

The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) has injuncted a bar owner in Little Rock, Arkansas, for violating several federal laws.

The bar in question, the Benton Tavern, and its owner, Tim Steppach, violated child labor laws, stole tender’s tips, and fired an employee who had enough of the abuse they faced each day.

“Our investigation identified numerous violations by Tim’s Tavern and Tim Steppach, and we are using every enforcement tool available to protect their employees and to hold this employer fully accountable,” said Southwest Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Betty Campbell.

The DoL has a zero-tolerance policy, as we have reported, on children being illegally employed and subjected to abuse.

Regional Solicitor of Labor John Rainwater said, “The law holds employers who hire minors responsible for meeting their legal and ethical obligations to comply with child labor standards to stop work experiences from jeopardizing their well-being or educational opportunities.”

Benton Teavern breaches federal standards

The DoL’s Wage and Hour Division investigated the issue, finding that Steppach hired multiple minors to work out of hours and on school nights. The government watchdog found in February 2024 that the minors were 14-and 15-year-old children.

Steppach was also found to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). He had no records system, stole tips from the staff, and failed to pay a regular paycheck.

The injunction placed on the negligent employer prohibits them from further violations of the child labor protections of the FLSA and from contacting any victims of their abuse directly.

The move by the DoL and their departments prohibits Steppach from “Threatening, intimidating, discriminating against, harming, or otherwise retaliating against the retaliation victim or other current and former employees for exercising their rights under the FLSA, including cooperating with and reporting alleged violations to the department.”

The DoL have also filed a complaint for Steppach to pay back the outstanding wages, stolen tips and liquidated damages from the harm caused by his actions.

“Federal law protects workers from wage theft, prevents vulnerable children from being employed illegally, and ensures that workers can alert the U.S. Department of Labor of potential violations without fear of retaliation,” continued Campbell.

Image: Pixlr.

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