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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

WHD News Release: [06/27/2011]
Contact Name: Elizabeth Todd or Juan Rodriguez
Phone Number: (972) 850-4710 or x4709
Release Number: 11-0792-DAL

72 Houston restaurant workers to receive more than $275,000 in minimum and overtime back wages following US Department of Labor investigation

HOUSTON — Ernesto Enterprises Corp. and Jonathan Enterprises Corp., doing business as Taconmadre Mariachi & Grill, have agreed to pay $275,706 in minimum and overtime back wages to 72 current and former employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Affected employees worked at three restaurants located on Edgebrook Avenue, Bellfort Street and Brownwood Street in Houston.

After interviewing numerous employees, investigators from the Wage and Hour Division's Houston District Office determined that workers were improperly classified as exempt from the FLSA, received salaries that did not yield the minimum wage and were not paid overtime wages for hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Furthermore, illegal deductions for uniforms and lost items were taken from employees' paychecks, and the companies did not maintain all required records.

This employer took advantage of vulnerable workers by failing to pay them the federal minimum wage," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. And employees worked up to 91 hours in a week without overtime compensation. These practices are illegal and unacceptable."

The companies cooperated with the investigation, and have agreed to pay all back wages due and fully comply with the FLSA in the future.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.

For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Houston office at 713-339-5500. Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.