Santa Rosa Area Restaurants to Pay $295,909 in Back Wages and Damages To 28 Employees in Agreement With U.S. Department of Labor
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Three Santa Rosa area restaurants have reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to pay 28 employees $147,954 in back wages, and an equal amount in liquidated damages, to resolve federal wage violations. The employer will also pay $15,115 in penalties.
Investigators with the Department’s Wage and Hour Division in San Francisco found that El Charro Casita, Inc., and its owner Antonio Gonzalez willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping provisions at its restaurants in Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Guerneville.
Investigators found that the employer paid employees straight-time rates, in cash, for overtime hours worked, rather than time-and-one-half of their regular rates for hours they worked beyond 40 in a workweek, as required by the FLSA. The employer also created and maintained a false set of timecards and paychecks in an effort to conceal the nonpayment of overtime wages due under federal law. Additionally, investigators found that the restaurant’s Santa Rosa location employed a minor under the legal working age of 14, in violation of FLSA’s child labor provisions.
“The resolution of this investigation ensures that these employees will receive the wages they have earned,” said Wage and Hour Division Director Susana Blanco, in San Francisco. “This agreement helps us to level the playing field so that employers who fail to comply with the law do not gain a competitive advantage over those who do. We encourage all employers to use the multiple resources we offer to avoid violations.”
As part of the agreement, El Charro Casita will modernize its payroll and scheduling system, provide all employees with FLSA training, and designate a third-party monitor to conduct a review of the company’s compliance with the FLSA every six months for at least two years. The employer has also acknowledged that retaliating against or threatening any employee for cooperating with or participating in a Wage and Hour Division investigation is strictly prohibited, and may subject them to further action.
Employees and employers with questions about the FLSA or any of the federal wage laws administered by the Division should call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). All calls are confidential. More information is available online at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.