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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Court Order Requiring Iowa Restaurants to Pay $833,992 in Back Wages to 64 Employees

URBANDALE, IA – After a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation, majority owner of two Iowa restaurants Gloria Ochoa has paid $833,992 in back wages to 64 employees to resolve federal wage violations, including falsifying payroll and time records and failing to pay required minimum wages and overtime. Wage and Hour Division investigators determined that Ochoa, majority owner of Rojas LLC and Ocha Inc., which do business as El Rodeo Mexican Restaurants in Urbandale and in Clive, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Ochoa has also paid a civil money penalty for violating child labor regulations.

Division investigators determined that Ochoa violated minimum wage requirements when she required servers to cash their paychecks and return the amounts of the checks, in cash, to the employer. Ochoa also required servers to surrender $20 from their daily tips to the employer. Additionally, the restaurants kept no time records reflecting when employees worked, instead paying workers for 80 hours biweekly regardless of their actual hours. This practice resulted in overtime violations when employees worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek, yet received no overtime pay. Employees routinely worked 55 hours per week. Investigators also determined that Ochoa employed a minor employee outside of the work hours allowed by the FLSA’s child labor requirements.

Under terms of the consent judgment entered in federal court in Des Moines, Ochoa admitted to the violations and agreed to seek assistance from the Division to ensure future compliance.

“Employees depend on receiving all the wages they have rightfully earned,” said Adam Wombacher, Wage and Hour Acting District Director in Des Moines. “The resolution of this case demonstrates our commitment to those workers, and to providing employers the tools they need to comply with the law. Our work levels the playing field for employers who play by the rules.”

The order by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa resolves a lawsuit brought by the Department against the restaurants and Ochoa to recover the wages.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by WHD.

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Court: U.S. District Court for Iowa
Docket Number: 4:18-cv-00065

Wage and Hour Division
March 28, 2018
Release Number
Media Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Media Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number