Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso-based Vivar’s Villa Del Mar has agreed to pay $72,709 in minimum and overtime back wages to 116 current and former servers at two restaurants in El Paso following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which found systemic violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Investigators found illegal and exploitative practices that deprived workers of the wages they rightfully earned,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator of the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “The department is committed to ensuring that all workers are fully paid for every hour they spend on the job and employers comply with the FLSA.”
The investigation by the division’s Albuquerque District Office revealed that servers were not paid the minimum wage for all hours worked. They also were not paid the difference in cash when their tips plus their base hourly rates did not total at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, and the required overtime rate of time and one-half was paid based only on the tipped employees’ cash wages rather than the full minimum wage. Additionally, one employee who worked as a busser as well as a server did not receive overtime during weeks in which he worked more than 40 hours between both jobs. Finally, required record keeping was not maintained.
Vivar’s Villa Del Mar, doing business as Villa Del Mar, is a full-service restaurant and bar. The company employs about 100 workers, and the El Paso restaurants are located on Gateway Boulevard and Mesa Street. In addition to paying the back wages owed, Villa Del Mar has agreed to comply fully with the FLSA in the future.
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. In accordance with the FLSA, an employer of a tipped employee is required to pay no less than $2.13 an hour in direct wages provided that amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. When an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages does not equal the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference. Employers also are required to provide employees notice of the FLSA tip credit provisions and to maintain accurate time and payroll records.
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 https://sites.google.com/site/eatshopsleepdol.
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 the division’s Albuquerque office at 505-248-6100. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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