Tucker Brewing Company owner: ‘I’m ready to move forward’

Laurentz und die Katzen Band perform during Tucktoberfest 2020 at Tucker Brewing Company on September 19. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Tucker, GA — Ryan Chapman, owner of Tucker Brewing Company, said he is ready to move forward after the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) found the brewery illegally retaliated against employees

Tucker Brewing Company is expected to pay $8,149 to two former employees who were fired after inquiring about their paychecks. The former employees declined to comment. 

Chapman said he “took TBC over in January.” His sister, Ashley Chapman Hubbard, who was managing the brewery during the time in question, is still listed as an owner on the website.  

“My goal is to get things back on track and move forward,” Chapman said. “We are proud of our employees and look forward to continuing to serve our guests and community.” 

Chapman issued the following statement: 

“Tucker Brewing Company (TBC) recently completed a routine audit by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). Throughout the entire process, TBC cooperated with the WHD, providing information and access to employees for interviews. At the conclusion of the audit, the WHD alleged two former employees were terminated in violation of the law. TBC disagreed. However, TBC also believed that a prolonged dispute concerning the underlying reasons for terminating these former employees would not benefit anyone including the former employees. TBC decided to settle the claims. In the time since, TBC has conducted in-depth employee training and implemented other measures to ensure its ongoing compliance with all state and federal laws.”

Tucker Brewing Company came under fire in 2021 after 10 staff members came forward, describing bullying and misclassification by management. 

At the time, Tucker Brewing Company management said they’d recognized “the need to strengthen our policies and practices,” and planned to hire a Human Resources director to “focus on further creating an environment that helps us retain, recruit and provide the best work environment possible for Tucker Brewing Company team members.”

In February, the U.S. DOL Wage and Hour Division began an investigation, contacting former employees who were fired after they inquired about a paycheck believed to be incorrect. 

Atlanta Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven Salazar said the employees were well within their rights. 

“The U.S. Department of Labor enforces federal laws that protect workers’ rights. In this case, two workers were well within their rights to ask about how they were being paid, especially when they believed the employer’s pay practices were unfair or incorrect,” said Salazar.  

The Department of Labor described its inquiry as an “investigation” and not a “routine audit,” as Chapman described it. 

“The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the employer retaliated illegally against two employees after each of them emailed the Tucker Brewing Company’s owner and asked about their earnings and the employer’s tip-sharing requirements,” the statement says. “The employer responded by terminating both workers’ employment despite neither having a history of disciplinary action. The written inquiry to company ownership about pay practices is a protected activity under the Fair Labor Standards Act.” 

The Department of Labor website also elaborates on its process for investigating companies.

“The WHD conducts investigations for a number of reasons, all having to do with enforcement of the laws and assuring an employer’s compliance,” the website says. “WHD does not typically disclose the reason for an investigation. Many are initiated by complaints. All complaints are confidential; the name of the worker and the nature of the complaint are not disclosable; whether a complaint exists may not be disclosed.”

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