More than 30 Current & Former Employees Win $665,000 from Settlement of Unpaid Wage Dispute Against Popular West Virginia BBQ Restaurant

Columbus, OH, December, 19, 2022 – The law firms of Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A. and Barkan, Meizlish, DeRose & Cox, LLP – both based in Columbus, Ohio – are pleased to announce a settlement of $665,000 on behalf of more than 30 plaintiffs in a collective and class action dispute over unpaid wages against the owners of Dee Jays BBQ Ribs and Grille, which is based in West Virginia.  The settlement of the dispute (Case No. 5:22-cv-00006-JPB), filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, was approved by Judge John P. Bailey on December 15, 2022.  As a result of the settlement approval, the case was also dismissed with prejudice (settlement and dismissal order attached for reference).

The lawsuit was originally filed on January 3, 2022, by plaintiff Chasity D. Adkins on behalf of herself and other current and former employees of Mt. Nebo Foods, LLC, and Dewey J. Guida Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Dee Jay’s BBQ Ribs & Grille.  The suit alleged violations of the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the West Virginia Minimum Wage and Maximum Hours Law, and the West Virginia Payment & Collections Act and sought relief and punitive damages against the defendants.

According to the suit, the defendants withheld up to 3% of each employee’s total sales for each shift to be paid out as tips and subsequently shared between managers, kitchen staff, and hosts/hostesses.  This led to servers having to put their own tips into the pool, which most of the time resulted in them being paid less than both federal ($7.25 per hour) and state minimum wages ($8.75 per hour). As a result, the suit explained, “approximately $4,000 in tips in a respective week could be shared between employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips.”  Last week’s settlement and dismissal effectively resolved these allegations, delivering monetary damages to be divided among the class of plaintiffs.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs issued a joint statement to comment on the settlement and dismissal: “We are pleased with the settlement and the opportunity for closure that this outcome brings for our clients.  We hope it sends a strong message to employers, especially in hospitality and food service, that minimum wage laws must be acknowledged and followed. We also hope it allows employees who believe they are paid incorrectly to recognize their options in recovering what they are owed.”

Plaintiffs in this case were represented by Adam L. Slone of Brian G. Miller Co, LPA, as well as Bob DeRose and Jacob Mikalov of Barkan Meizlish DeRose & Cox, LLP.

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About Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A.

Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A., was established in 2004 when Brian Miller decided to start his own law practice. His goal was to create a law firm that delivers legal services reflective of his experience, ability, and a steadfast commitment to exceptional quality and client satisfaction.  At the law office of Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A., we provide our clients with effective legal representation by placing a strong emphasis on diligent investigation and by utilizing a thoroughly academic approach in preparing cases. Members of our firm are experienced not only with case management and claims processing, but also with the type of detailed legal research that exceptional client representation requires. The firm carries a healthy, but manageable active client caseload that ensures we have the time to get to know each client personally, while also ensuring our ability to pay careful attention to the details of each and every case. Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A., is best known for handling plaintiff’s serious personal injury claims, wrongful death claims, and other catastrophic injury litigation, as well as a growing practice representing employees in wage and hour violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other employment regulations.   Visit for more information.

About Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox LLP.

The law firm of Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP is over sixty years old, with a national practice, focused on wage and hour/overtime litigation, Ohio workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability, and personal injury/medical malpractice. The firm and individual attorneys within the firm appear on lists of the best law firms and attorneys in the nation. Through their representation of individual employees as well as the injured and the disabled, the firm aims to protect the rights of working people on and off the job. They represent clients’ interests in federal and state court, before federal and state administrative agencies, at the collective bargaining table, and in state legislatures and the United States Congress. The attorneys and professional staff of Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP are fully committed to securing justice for all of their clients.  Visit for more information.

What Are Illegal Wage Deductions?

The Fair Labor Standards Act imposes strict standards on how your employer is allowed (and not allowed) to make deductions from your paycheck, or what they are allowed to consider as part of your pay.

Employers frequently try to skirt these rules and assume that their workers don’t know their rights well enough to notice or fight back against wage theft, but a wage and hour attorney in Columbus will notice right away.

Because our wage lawyers in Columbus know what to look for when it comes to illegal wage deductions leading to unpaid wages, we want to empower you to know what to look for as well. If you’ve seen evidence of any of these illegal wage deductions, you should talk to our lost wages lawyers in Columbus about recouping the wages that you are legally entitled to.

Illegal Wage Deductions for Uniforms

While it is permissible for an employer to require a uniform for work, a provided uniform does not count as wages. An employer cannot provide a uniform in lieu of their obligations to pay minimum wage or overtime obligations.

That means that an employer cannot deduct the cost of a uniform from your pay if it causes your pay rate to fall below the minimum wage or decreases the overtime rate that you are entitled to. That is an illegal deduction. You are legally entitled to that pay, and an unpaid wage and hour lawyer in Columbus can help you recover this.

Take, for example,  if a restaurant pays minimum wage to a host, but deducts money from their paycheck for the host uniform. If a worker is making minimum wage, the employer cannot deduct money from their paycheck for a uniform, or most other reasons – even losses resulting from the employee’s negligence.

If a worker is making more than minimum wage, employers are only allowed to deduct for specific purposes up to the amount of minimum wage. This means that at the end of the workweek, your paycheck, after the uniform deductions, cannot result in you making less than the minimum wage per hour on average.  In Ohio, the minimum wage will be $10.10 as of January 2023.

If an employer is paying $11.10, or one dollar per hour over the minimum wage, then for an employer working 20 hours a week, they would only be able to deduct a maximum of $20 each week. If the employer deducts more than $20 in this example, the employee would actually make less the minimum wage per hour.   It sounds complicated, that is why an unpaid wages lawyer in Ohio should get involved to help fight back against these illegal deductions – preferably one with a long history of successful results.

Illegal Wage Deductions Cover More Than Uniforms

While the FLSA mentions uniforms specifically when referring to illegal deductions that a wage and hour attorney in Columbus can fight back against, the Act covers more than uniforms.

The Act states that “items which are considered to be primarily for the benefit or convenience of the employer” cannot be included in wages. This means uniforms, but also some things one might not expect.

Other categories considered to be “for the convenience of the employer” include tools required for work, damages caused by employees or customers, unpaid bills by customers, and theft of company property. None of these can be deducted from an employee’s weekly pay beyond minimum wage or overtime obligations, even if the employee is at fault.

What an Employer Can and Cannot Do

In a number of states, there are laws that protect employees from any paycheck deductions resulting from issues like damaged equipment or a cash drawer that comes up short. Ohio is not one of those states, but wage and hour attorneys in Ohio can still make sure an employer does not deduct wages beyond the Ohio minimum wage threshold in accordance with federal and Ohio law.

That means that a minimum wage worker cannot have their paycheck deducted even if there is money missing from their register if the amount deducted will result in the worker making less than the minimum wage.

Of course, that doesn’t mean your employer can’t take other actions – they are within their rights to terminate your employment or even pursue legal action if they believe money or equipment was intentionally stolen. Our employment attorneys in Columbus can help you fight back in any of these cases, especially if your check is being deducted unjustly or beyond the allowable maximum.

If you feel you’ve had your wages cut unfairly, or more than is legally allowed, contact the wage and hour attorneys at Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP and reclaim the wages you worked for and are legally entitled to.

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