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St. Louis brewery is accused of giving manager tips, violating labor laws

The U.S. Department of Labor said Rockwell Beer Co. violated federal labor standards by allowing a salaried employee collect tips.
Credit: Rockwell Beer Co.

ST. LOUIS — The U.S. Department of Labor is accusing St. Louis brewery Rockwell Beer Co. of violating federal labor standards due to a practice of allowing a salaried employee to collect tips.

The Labor Department’s suit, filed Sunday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, alleges several violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. It also claims the tip pool violations resulted in the brewery failing to pay bartenders minimum wage and time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 in a workweek and that it failed to keep required records.

In addition to Rockwell, the suit names as defendants Rockwell co-founders Christopher Hulse and Heather Sanders; a related entity, RBC Management; and RBG Biergarten, an entity tied to the Francis Park location the brewery opened last year.

“We will not provide a comment regarding this pending litigation,” a Rockwell Company spokesperson said.

The Labor Department said it reviewed Rockwell's employment and pay practices from Feb. 16, 2020, through, Feb. 15, 2022.

As a result of the violations, the Labor Department seeks an order for the defendants to pay back wages and damages to employees listed in an exhibit attached to the suit, as well as to additional employees the department does not know about at this time.

Rockwell opened its first location, a brewery and taproom, in the Botanical Heights neighborhood at 1320 South Vandeventer Ave. in November 2018.

Click here to read the full story from the St. Louis Business Journal.

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