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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

WHD News Release: [06/17/2014]
Contact Name: Joanna Hawkins or Leni Fortson
Phone Number: (215) 861-5101 or x5102
Email:
Hawkins.Joanna@dol.gov or uddyback-fortson.lenore@dol.gov
Release Number: 14-1015-PHI

Las Trancas Inc. in Vienna, W. Va., to pay more than $365,000 in back wages to 36 workers and more than $15,000 in penalties

Wage violations found at two restaurants in West Virginia and Ohio

VIENNA, W. Va. — Las Trancas Inc., doing business as Las Trancas Mexican Cuisine, a full-service restaurant headquartered in Vienna, will pay a total of $365,834 in back wages to 36 workers employed at two establishments in Clarksburg and Marietta, Ohio. Investigations conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division's Pittsburgh District Office disclosed minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company will also pay $15,520 in civil money penalties for willful and repeat violations of the FLSA.

"In 2008, our initial investigation of Las Trancas found overtime violations at the employer's Clarksburg restaurant. Six years later, this company is still breaking the law and shorting employees. This continued disregard of federal wage laws will not be tolerated," said John DuMont, director of the division's Pittsburgh District Office. "The restaurant industry employs some of our country's most vulnerable workers who, especially during hard economic times, are at risk for exploitation. We will continue our effort to promote awareness and improve compliance in this industry and to ensure that these hard-working employees receive the wages they have earned."

Investigators found the employer failed to record how many hours servers worked and failed to pay them for any hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek, creating violations of the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime provisions.

Under the FLSA, restaurant operators can benefit by claiming a credit toward their minimum wage obligations based on the tips that servers receive. An employer that claims this tip credit is required to pay a tipped employee $2.13 per hour in direct wages, provided that amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In this case, because the employer failed to compensate servers at all for their hours worked beyond 40 in a week, use of the tip credit was denied and Las Trancas was required to pay tipped employees the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked.

Las Trancas has agreed to enterprisewide compliance with the FLSA at all five of its restaurant locations and has agreed to pay all back wages and penalties.

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 of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers are required to provide employees notice about the FLSA tip credit provisions, to maintain accurate time and payroll records and to comply with the hours, hazardous orders and other restrictions applying to workers under age 18.

For additional information about the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/