Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Central Florida restaurant chain workers to receive nearly $60,000 in back wages following US Labor Department investigation
JACKSONVILLE, Florida -- The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered nearly $60,000 in back wages from Los Avina Mexican Restaurants and owner Jorge Avina, who failed to pay minimum wage and overtime compensation to five workers in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The restaurants and Avina also failed to keep full and accurate records of the employees’ work hours and wages, as required by federal law. These violations were found in all three Los Avina Mexican Restaurants establishments, located in Archer, Chiefland and High Springs, Fla.
“The Labor Department will not allow employers to exploit low-wage workers. Nor will we allow them to gain a leg up on the vast majority of employers who play by the rules,” said Michael Young, director of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division district office in Jacksonville. “The Labor Department has stepped up its enforcement efforts to remedy wage violations in industries that employ vulnerable workers and will hold employers such as Los Avina accountable for denying workers their hard-earned wages.”
An investigation by the Wage and Hour Division found that some Los Avina cooks and dishwashers were made to work 60 hours per week without being paid overtime compensation and were instead paid a flat weekly salary that fell far below the federal minimum wage requirement of $7.25 per hour. Wage and Hour Division investigators also found that the employers had paid their workers cash “off the books” and had kept no records indicating the names, work hours and wages of those employees.
Los Avina Mexican Restaurants and Avina have agreed to pay the full amount of back wages due to the employees. The parties also have agreed to maintain future compliance with all provisions of the FLSA by keeping accurate time and payroll records, and by paying full and proper wages for all hours of their employees’ work.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage as well as one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for hours worked over 40 per week.
In general, “hours worked” includes all time a covered 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 activity of the day to the end of the last principal work activity. Additionally, the law requires that accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained.
For more information on this investigation, contact the Wage and Hour Division Jacksonville District Office at 904-359-9292 or call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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