Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Labor Department secures more than $600,000 for 19 employees of El Torero Inc.
U.S. District Court of Kansas finds company, owner in contempt of consent judgment
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained an Order holding restaurant business El Torero Inc., Andover, Kan., and its president, Pablo Santillan, in Contempt of a Consent Injunction issued on August 14, 2003. This judgment followed an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division finding that the company had again violated multiple provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
In September 2008, the U.S. District Court for Kansas found the company in contempt of court for failing to pay $302,421 in back wages to 19 restaurant employees and ordered immediate payment, as well as an equal amount as compensation for delay in the payment of wages.
“The Labor Department will continue to explore all means available to ensure these workers receive the wages to which they’re legally entitled,” said James Koren, the Wage and Hour Division’s district director in Kansas City.
The investigation found that 13 servers were paid solely by tips, a violation of the FLSA’s minimum wage standards. Furthermore, the company illegally deducted servers’ pay to cover uniform expenses.
In addition, the company violated the FLSA’s overtime standards by not paying six cooks time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Also, pay records were not accurate and hours worked were not properly recorded.
The Wage and Hour Division’s district office in Kansas City conducted the investigation.
The FLSA requires covered, nonexempt employees to be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour for all hours worked, and time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records.
Employers of “tipped employees” must pay a cash wage of at least $2.13 per hour if they claim a tip credit against their minimum wage obligation. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s cash wage of at least $2.13 per hour do not equal the minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference. Certain other conditions must also be met.
For more information about the FLSA, call the Department of Labor’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at www.wagehour.dol.gov.
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