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News Release

Roanoke Area Restaurants and Owners to Pay $3 Million in Back Wages and Damages to Workers

ROANOKE, VA – As a result of a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia entered a consent judgment ordering six Roanoke area restaurants and their owners to pay $1.5 million in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, to 149 employees. The consent judgment rectifies federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations. 

The Division’s investigation found from Jan. 29, 2012, to Jan. 25, 2015, the defendants willfully violated FLSA minimum wage and overtime provisions by only compensating servers through tips and not paying the federal minimum wage and one-and-one-half their regular rates of pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The defendants also paid non-exempt kitchen staff – cooks, assistant cooks, and dishwashers – straight time for the overtime hours they worked. Investigators also found the defendants’ failed to keep and maintain accurate records of the hours employees worked as required. 

“This resolution secures proper compensation for these hard-working employees, and helps ensure that the law will be followed in the future,” said Wage and Hour District Director Carmen E. Otero-Infante, in Richmond.

“The agreement recovers wages owed to employees for work performed years ago,” said Regional Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III.  “The outcome in this case positively impacts voluntary compliance in the food service industry in Virginia, and will level the competitive playing field for employers that comply with the law.”

The defendants are El Rodeo-Electric Inc., El Rodeo-Orange Inc., Bravo Brandon Inc., Arellano Inc., El Toreo-Thirlane Inc. El Rodeo-Wildwood Inc., and individual owners Elijio Arellano, Jesus Arellano, and Augustin Arellano.

View the complaint and consent judgment.

The Division is committed to providing employers with the tools they need to assist them – in a variety of languages – in fulfilling their obligation to understand and comply with the variety of laws the Division enforces. It offers useful resources ranging from an interactive E-laws advisor to a complete library of free, downloadable workplace posters. In addition, the Division’s Community Outreach and Resource Planning Specialists conduct ongoing outreach activities to educate stakeholders, including employers, employees, business and labor groups, and professional associations, among others, with accessible, easy-to-understand information about their rights and responsibilities.

For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at

Acosta v. El Rodeo-Electric, Inc., et al.
Civil Action Number: 7:1Q-cv-00265-MFU

Wage and Hour Division
November 15, 2017
Release Number
Media Contact: Joanna Hawkins
Media Contact: Leni Fortson