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News Brief

Tampico restaurants agree to pay $190K in back wages to 67 workers

Employees in Marietta, Ohio; Parkersburg and Moundsville, West Virginia to benefit

Type of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act Consent Judgment

Name of Defendants:

  • Tampico Mexican Restaurant Inc., Marietta, Ohio
  • Tampico LLC, Parkersburg, West Virginia
  • Acapulco Mexican Restaurant Inc., Moundsville, West Virginia
  • Luis Salas, majority owner and general manager

Allegations: The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment in federal court ordering the three full-service restaurants, which share common ownership, and majority owner and general manager Luis Salas, named individually in the lawsuit, to pay $190,000 in back wages to 67 employees. An investigation conducted by the department’s  Wage and Hour Division found that the companies and Salas violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions.

The minimum wage and overtime violations resulted when the employer:

  • Required tipped employees to contribute a portion of their tips to an invalid tip pool.
  • Paid kitchen staff less than the current federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour.
  • Paid workers some of their wages in cash, which was not recorded on their payroll
  • Failed to pay employees overtime at time and one-half when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.
  • Failed to keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid.

Resolution: Tampico and Salas will pay a total of $190,000 in back wages before March 31, 2016 as follows:

  • $54,623.87 to 23 employees at Tampico Mexican Restaurant in Marietta, Ohio.
  • $93,525.98 to 29 employees at Tampico LLC based in Parkersburg, West Virginia  
  • $41,850 to 18 employees at Acapulco Mexican Restaurant in Moundsville, West Virginia.
  • Three employees worked at more than one location.

Under terms of the consent judgment, in addition to paying the back wages, the restaurants will provide additional training and education for managers and employees about the FLSA, install a computerized time keeping system and provide detailed pay stubs to employees. The restaurants will provide a paper copy of this consent judgment, including all exhibits to all current employees and to all new hires until Feb. 28, 2017. The employer will also post copies of the consent judgment at all of their restaurants in locations where employee notices are customarily posted, where they will remain posted until Jan. 31, 2018.

Quote: “This judgment restores rightfully earned wages to 67 workers who were vulnerable to exploitation – vulnerable because of language barriers, a lack of awareness of their rights, or a fear of speaking up when those rights were violated,” said George Victory, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Columbus. “The Wage and Hour Division is committed to protecting vulnerable workers who are too often denied fair wages and to leveling the playing field for law-abiding employers."

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 hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Additionally, the law requires employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records and prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Columbus

Docket Number: 2:16-cv-00044

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
March 23, 2016
Release Number
16-651-CHI
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number