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Mexican Restaurants To Pay Over $1M in Back Wages and Overtime

June 1, 2011

In recent news that our Chino Hills, California labor and employment attorneys have been following, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has ordered the owner and manager of three Illinois restaurants to pay nearly $1,150,000 in monetary damages and back wages to 64 employees working as kitchen staff and restaurant servers, after a department investigation found that the restaurants engaged in violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA.)

According to the investigation, Dolores Onate and Ricardo Ornate, the owner and manager of the El Caporal and El Matador restaurants, willfully and also repeatedly violated the minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping provisions of the FLSA, by forcing employees to repay their hard earned wages in an attempt to conceal the restaurants' wage and hour violations.

The DOL found that many employees of the restaurants failed to receive any actual payment from the paychecks they received--as they were reportedly required to return the checks to the restaurants. Also, kitchen staff, dishwashers and busboys were not reportedly paid according to federal law, and did not receive minimum wage compensation or overtime payment. These employees were also required to return some of the payment from their checks.

Other wait staff employees reportedly only took home tips from customers that they served. Employees were also often forced to clock into work at a specific time, even if they had already started their job shift earlier.

The court held that the restaurant defendants were liable for paying 34 employees from two El Matador restaurants $387,429, and 30 employees from the El Caporal restaurant $187,421.41, as well as a matching amount in liquidated damages.

In Brea, Costa Mesa and Azusa, California, contact our labor and employment attorneys today, for a free consultation about your wage and hour rights.

Judge finds Decatur-Ill. Mexican restaurants liable for more than $1 million in back wages and damages after US Labor Department investigation, U.S. Department of Labor, May 26, 2011

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Related Blog Posts:

Class Action Wage and Hour Lawsuit Accuses Global Insurance Company of FLSA Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, May 30, 2011

Strip Club Violates FLSA--Judge Rules Exotic Dancers are Not Independent Contractors, California Employment Lawyers Blog, May 27, 2011