Feds crack down on Chicken or the Egg for $770K wage ripoff
BEACH HAVEN — An iconic seasonal restaurant on Long Beach Island was caught by federal labor officials ripping off more than two dozen employees.
The Chicken or The Egg restaurant, known legally as Cramark Inc., has been ordered to pay $768,548 in back wages, liquidated damages and penalties for violating fair labor laws and work regulations of the H-2B temporary visa program for foreign workers.
Restaurant management failed to pay 23 workers time-and-a-half when they clocked in more than 40 hours in a workweek, Department of Labor officials said.
Instead, the employer always recorded fewer than 40 weekly hours on the payroll, regardless of actual hours worked, and paid for overtime hours in cash.
The investigation also found that the employer violated requirements of the H-2B visa program by failing to provide each employee with accurate pay stubs and a written statement of their total earnings each workweek in the pay period.
Additionally, three temporary employees who were federally approved for food preparation instead worked as bussers, clearing and setting tables. The restaurant paid them less than Ocean County's required minimum for workers of their seasonal status.
The violations were from August 2015 to December 2017, federal officials said.
Cramark Inc. will pay $359,077 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to those owed proper overtime. Another $7,792 was ordered paid in back wages to two employees hired through the visa program.
A civil penalty of $42,602 was imposed by the Department for the "willful nature of the wage violations."
The restaurant also has agreed to future compliance, officials said.
The popular eatery along North Bay Avenue, known by seasonal visitors and locals as "Chegg," has been in business in the borough for 28 years.
Its menu, highlighted by buffalo wings with a choice of 16 sauces, has landed the restaurant on The Travel Channel's "Man Versus Food."
More from New Jersey 101.5: