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Restaurants in Charleston keep getting busted for labor law violations

Restaurants in Charleston, S.C. have become notorious for breaking labor laws. According to an in-depth report by Hanna Raskin of the Post and Courier, over 34 local restaurants have been "cited for violating protective labor laws" since 2004. All together, these restaurants — ranging from sports bars to fine-dining establishments — haves shorted their employees a little more than $388,067 in the past decade. Even though working overtime is often expected in a kitchen, a spokesperson for the Department of Labor, Wage & Hours notes that most restaurants "don't calculate overtime or pay overtime at all."

An increasing number of restaurants in Charleston are being audited by the U.S. Department of Labor, including places like Husk, where chef Sean Brock heads up the kitchen. James Beard-nominated chef Jeremiah Bacon — whose restaurant The Macintosh owed $15,198 in back wages when it was audited in 2012 — notes that these violations often stem from "failing to question the legality" of common restaurant practices like paying cooks by the shift instead of per hour. Bacon was "not aware" of the things they were doing wrong at the time. A representative from The Macintosh released this statement: "The restaurant resolved its wage issues in 2012. Mistakes were corrected and restitution was made. The Macintosh has not had any issues since."

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