News Release

Nebraska Restaurant to Pay $203,884 in Back Wages to 23 Employees at Two Locations After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation

AUBURN, NE – An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found that El Portal Mexican Restaurant locations in Auburn, Nebraska, and Nebraska City, Nebraska, violated the minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping, and child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). El Portal Mexican Restaurant will pay 23 employees $203,884 in back wages to resolve the violations.

WHD investigators found the restaurants’ FLSA violations included:

  • Paying flat salaries to kitchen employees, regardless of the number of hours they worked. This practice resulted in overtime violations when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek and received no overtime pay;
  • Failing to meet minimum wage requirements when the restaurants failed to pay servers for all of the hours that they worked, and when they made deductions from wages for the cost of uniforms that exceeded allowable limits;
  • Failing to maintain accurate and legally required records of the number of hours employees worked, and amounts deducted from wages for uniform costs; and
  • Requiring minors under 16 to work past 9 p.m. and longer than 3 hours on school nights in violation of the FLSA’s child labor provisions.

“Ensuring employees receive their hard-earned wages and assisting employers with understanding their obligations under federal labor laws is fundamental to the mission of the Wage and Hour Division,” said Richard Tesarek, Wage and Hour Assistant District Director in Omaha. “Our enforcement ensures employers compete on a level playing field and protects employees. Employers can avoid wage violations by contacting the Wage and Hour Division confidentially for assistance.”

In addition to paying the back wages due immediately, El Portal Restaurant has taken steps to ensure compliance with the FLSA by installing time clocks, and training management about the requirements of the FLSA.

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

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
May 22, 2018
Release Number
18-0854-CHI
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number