Tennessee Restaurants Pay $83,013 in Back Wages, Damages, and Penalties After U.S. Department of Labor Finds Wage and Child Labor Violations
NASHVILLE, TN - A Nashville, Tennessee-based restaurant enterprise has paid $62,781 in back wages and liquidated damages to 56 employees after a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation found the employer violated minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The employer is also paying a civil penalty of $20,232 for the repeat nature of the wage violations, and for federal child labor violations.
WHD determined Las Maracas 2 Inc. in Nashville and Las Maracas Madison Inc. in Madison, Tennessee – both operating as Las Maracas Mexican Restaurant and owned by Daphne Smith – violated minimum wage requirements when the employer practice of rounding led them to pay employees for fewer hours than they had actually worked. These erroneous recordkeeping practices also led to overtime violations when unpaid time occurred in workweeks of greater than 40 hours. Additional overtime violations occurred when the employer paid some employees flat weekly amounts without regard to the number of hours they actually worked. This practice violated overtime requirements when those employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but the employer did not pay overtime.
The employer also failed to maintain accurate records including the number of hours employees worked and the amounts of cash payments made to employees. Some employees worked entirely for cash payment, and did not appear in the employer’s records at all, in violation of FLSA recordkeeping requirements.
In addition, WHD found that Las Maracas violated FLSA child labor requirements by allowing a 15-year-old employee to work more than eight hours a day when school was in session, exceeding the federal allowable limit of three hours. The employer also allowed the minor employee to work between 57-67 hours per week while school was in session, surpassing the federal legal limit of 18 hours per workweek.
“Our work keeps children safe on the job, ensures that employees are paid what they have legally earned, and creates a level playing field for employers,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Nettie Lewis, in Nashville, Tennessee. “This employer failed to come into compliance after a previous investigation, and now faces costly damages and fines. We encourage all employers to review their employment obligations and to contact us for compliance assistance so they can avoid violations like those found in this case.”
The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.
For more information about the FLSA, child labor, and other laws enforced by the WHD, 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 https://www.dol.gov/whd.
WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the Nation's workforce. WHD enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to Federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.