Omaha bar & restaurant owner fined, forced to pay employees back wages

Federal investigation nets nearly $275,000 in wages for more than 133 employees
Back wages are being paid to 133 employees across six Omaha establishments after a federal investigation.
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 7:23 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Employees from six Omaha bars, restaurants, and live music venues owned by the same LLC are being awarded thousands of dollars in back wages as the result of a federal investigation.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday that it had recovered $272,163 in overtime back wages for 133 workers employed at six Maven Act II LLC establishments around the city: Alice and Barnato, both located in west Omaha; and The Berry & Rye, Laka Lomo Rum Club, Via Farina, and Wicked Rabbit, all located downtown. The LLC also owns a mobile bar service called Maven Bar and Maven Ice, a commercial ice company.

Zoom in and click on the map points to get a breakdown on the back wages for each establishment.

The average amount in back wages owed ranges from about $1,275 to $3,255 per employee.

Additionally, the LLC was also fined $6,930 for its several violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, from calculating overtime on wrong pay rates to not maintaining any time sheets for about eight months starting in May 2020.

“Servers and bartenders are often among our nation’s lowest-paid workers. Making a living by depending on busy shifts and customers’ whims is hard enough, without being forced to overcome employers who fail to pay them as the law requires,” said Marietta Taylor, the DOL Wage and Hour Division District Director in Des Moines, Iowa. “Our investigation found Maven Act II LLC misused its tip pool and denied dozens of employees all of their hard-earned wages by violating federal overtime laws.”


When instituting tip pools for servers, the owners included salaried managers.

“By doing so, the employer lost their ability to take a tip credit in workweeks when managers shared servers’ tips,” the report states.

The owners also paid some servers time-and-a-half while also claiming a tip credit when they should have paid that time-and-a-half on each employee’s regular hourly rate.

The investigation also found that employees were classified as “exempt” workers — meaning they were ineligible for overtime — but that they didn’t meet the necessary requirements for that classification.

“By doing so, the employer failed to pay time and one-half their pay rate for hours over 40 in a workweek,” the report states.

The LLC also didn’t maintain time records from May 2020 until January 2021, according to the report.


If you think you might be owed back wages, you can use the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division search tool to figure it out. Or download the agency’s new Timesheet app to check that your hours and pay are accurate.

You can also call the Des Moines division’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) to learn more information about the Fair Labor Standards Act and other DOL wage laws.