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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Recovers $53,100 for Employees After Investigation Uncovers Wage Violations at North Carolina Restaurant

APEX, NC – After an investigation by the a U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), La Rancherita Inc. – operating as La Rancherita Mexican Restaurant in Apex, North Carolina – has paid $53,100 in back wages to 18 employees to resolve violations of the overtime, minimum wage, and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

WHD found La Rancherita Inc. violated federal minimum wage requirements when it required tipped employees to wait for the day's first customer to enter the establishment before clocking-in, instead of doing so when their workday began. This practice resulted in unrecorded and unpaid work time, creating the minimum wage violations. Investigators also determined the employer paid its cooks flat salaries, without regard to the number of hours that they worked. This practice resulted in overtime violations when those employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, yet were not paid overtime. The employer also recorded false hourly rates for these workers in an attempt to show overtime in the payroll records, resulting in FLSA recordkeeping violations. 

"Employers must understand their responsibilities and pay employees all of the wages they have legally earned," said Wage and Hour District Director Richard Blaylock, in Raleigh. "The work of the Wage and Hour Division protects workers' wages, and levels the playing field so that employers who follow the rules don't find themselves at an economic disadvantage to those who do not. We encourage all employers to use the many tools we provide to help them understand their responsibilities and to comply with the law."

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at

Wage and Hour Division
April 18, 2019
Release Number
Media Contact: Eric R. Lucero
Phone Number
Media Contact: Michael D'Aquino
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