PHILADELPHIA, PA – Two Philadelphia restaurants have agreed to pay 156 employees a total of $414,765 in back wages, and an equal amount in liquidated damages, to resolve alleged federal wage violations. A proposed consent judgment filed on Nov. 27 – which must still be reviewed and approved by a federal judge – details the terms of the agreement.
In addition to paying back wages and damages, the employers will pay a $10,000 civil money penalty.
An investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in Philadelphia found that Tierra Colombiana and Mixto violated the overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Minimum wage violations were also found. Both restaurants are owned by Jorge Mosquera, and are operated by Jorge and Mercy Mosquera.
“This resolution restores back wages rightfully earned by hard-working employees,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director James Cain, in Philadelphia. “We encourage all employers to take advantage of the Division’s education and outreach efforts to help them understand their responsibilities and how to properly comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act.”
Division investigators found that servers, bartenders, barbacks, runners, hostesses, kitchen chefs, and dishwashers regularly worked more than 40 hours per week, but were not paid overtime at time-and-a-half as the FLSA requires. The restaurants also failed to maintain required records and made some illegal deductions from employee wages.
“This enforcement action will ensure that workers are paid for all of the hours they worked, and will go a long way in leveling the playing field for employers in the restaurant industry,” said Regional Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III.
The employers have agreed to comply with the FLSA in the future, including paying the proper overtime premium. The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the 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. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.
The Division is committed to providing companies with the tools they need to understand and comply with the variety of labor laws the division enforces. It offers useful resources ranging from an interactive Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses advisor to a complete library of free, downloadable workplace posters. In addition, Community Outreach and Resource Planning specialists conduct ongoing activities to educate stakeholders, including employers, employees, business and labor groups, and professional associations.
For more information about federal wage laws, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (548-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.
Read this news release in Spanish.