WHD News Release: [11/20/2012]
Contact Name: Michael D’Aquino
Phone Number: (404) 562-2076
Release Number: 12-2186-ATL
Dos Taquitos Mexican Restaurant in Raleigh, NC, to pay more than $48,000 in back wages to 26 employees following US Labor Department investigation
RALEIGH, N.C. Dos Taquitos Mexican Restaurant in Raleigh has agreed to pay 26 employees $48,125 in back wages following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage, overtime, child labor and record-keeping provisions.
Investigators found that employees were paid fixed salaries without regard to the number of hours worked. This practice resulted in the employees' regular rates of pay (defined as their salaries divided by the total weekly hours worked) falling below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The employer also failed to pay overtime compensation at time and one-half the employees' regular rates for hours over 40 in a workweek, as required. Additionally, the restaurant employed a 14-year-old who was allowed to work beyond the hours permitted by the FLSA's Child Labor Regulation No. 3, which limits the total hours and times of day that 14- and 15-year-old employees may work. Finally, the employer failed to keep accurate records of hours worked, wages paid and proof of dates of birth for workers under 18.
"The Wage and Hour Division is committed to protecting low-wage employees in the restaurant industry, where we have found widespread FLSA violations. Employers must not profit by exploiting some of our most vulnerable workers," said Richard Blaylock, director of the Wage and Hour Division's Raleigh District Office. "This case should serve as notice to other employers who may not be paying their employees in accordance with federal law."
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Simply paying employees a salary does not exempt them from minimum wage and overtime protections. In general, "hours worked" includes all time an employee must be on duty, or on the employer's premises or at any other prescribed place of work, from the beginning of the first principal work activity to the end of the last principal activity of the workday. Additionally, the law requires that accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained.
The FLSA's child labor provisions protect young workers by limiting the types of jobs and the number of hours they may work. Children under 14 may not be employed in nonagricultural occupations covered by the FLSA. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds may be employed outside of school hours in a variety of nonmanufacturing and nonhazardous jobs for limited periods of time and under specified conditions. More information on child labor rules can be found at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/childlabor101_text.htm.
Accessible and searchable information on enforcement activities by the Department of Labor is available at http://ogesdw.dol.gov/search. Publicly available enforcement data are also available through the free mobile application "Eat Shop Sleep," which enables consumers, employees and other members of the public to check if a hotel, restaurant or retail location has been investigated by the Wage and Hour Division, and whether FLSA violations were found. The app is available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/apps/winners.htm.
The division's Raleigh office can be reached at 919-790-2742. Information on the FLSA and other wage laws is available by calling the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) and at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.
- Read this news release en Español.