We began the investigation Wednesday, as News 2 discovered how many wage theft lawsuits are open against Lowcountry restaurants. And now, News 2’s Mayci McLeod is taking a closer look at one in particular; dozens of employees suing a local resort.

One plaintiff in this case, John Irvine, says, “I felt all along that I was being shorted, and this was an opportunity for me to try to make even on it.”

Irvine has more than two decades of experience as a fine dining waiter, so he knew something was wrong when he started working at Wild Dunes Resort.

He says, “I think that Wild Dunes took advantage of the wait staff, especially because they were younger on average and they were more transient. So, they were easier to push around than some of the more permanent jobs at the resort.”

Irvine is suing Wild Dunes Resort, claiming the restaurant required servers to come in early and stay late, making only $3.25 per hour while cleaning and setting up, when there was no opportunity to make tips.

Employment attorney on this case, Ashley Falls, says, “If a server is engaging in what we call a ‘non-tipped occupation’, such as performing tasks that a janitor would typically perform, that tipped employee should be paid full minimum wage, or $7.25 an hour, while they’re performing those tasks.”

John Irvine isn’t the only one with these wage issues. Since this complaint was filed, more than 70 current and former Wild Dunes Resort employees have joined in on the lawsuit.  Attorneys say the amount they believe each employee is owed varies, but it could be thousands a piece.

Falls says, “The law allows the employees, obviously, to recover the difference between what they were paid and the full minimum wage rate. The law also allows employees to possibly recover what is called ‘liquidated damages’, which allows the court to multiply the amount that the employee is owed times two, as a penalty for the restaurant for incorrectly adding the wages.”

Irvine says he hopes this lawsuit is an example for servers across the Lowcountry.

He says, “I hope it impacts people not only at Wild Dunes, but especially in the larger Charleston area where similar situations probably are happening and hopefully it will make it better for everyone.”

News 2 reached out to both Wild Dunes Resort and Destination Hotels and Resorts, the company which owns Wild Dunes. Neither of them responded to the requests for comment.