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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: 11-0863-DAL

63 Houston-area restaurant workers to receive nearly $250,000 in minimum and overtime back wages following US Department of Labor investigation

HOUSTON — Houston-based Taqueria de Jalisco has agreed to pay $249,805 in minimum and overtime back wages to 63 current and former cashiers, kitchen and wait staff following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act at the company's three area restaurants.

The investigation by the Wage and Hour Division's Houston District Office determined through numerous interviews with employees that the company paid them salaries amounting to less than the minimum wage for all hours worked. Minimum wage violations also occurred when the employer made illegal wage deductions from tipped employees' wages for items such as lost silverware. Additionally, employees who worked more than 40 hours in a week were not paid overtime, and accurate time and payroll records were not maintained.

"The Wage and Hour Division is concerned about the prevalence of violative pay practices in the restaurant industry, such as those disclosed in this investigation," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. "Our job is to ensure that employees receive their rightful pay and to enforce the rules so that that law-abiding employers are not placed at a competitive disadvantage by those who break the law."

The restaurants are located on South Post Oak Road and Houston Boulevard in Houston and on South Shaver in Pasadena, Texas. The company has agreed to fully comply with the FLSA in the future, and payment of back wages is underway.

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 Wage and Hour 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/.