Indiana Restaurant Operator to Pay $317,108 in Back Wages To 21 Employees Following U.S. Department of Labor Investigation
EVANSVILLE, IN – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Los Tequila Inc. – operator of Los Tres Caminos restaurant in Evansville, Indiana – will to pay $317,108 in minimum wage and overtime back wages to 21 employees for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD investigators found that Los Tequila Inc. violated the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements by paying servers for only up to 40 hours per week, failing to pay them any wages at all for any hours they worked beyond that point. Servers typically worked more than 40 hours per week every workweek. Additional violations occurred when the employer paid kitchen workers flat weekly salaries regardless of the number of hours they worked. This practice resulted in violations when these employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but the employer failed to pay them overtime.
In addition to the back wages, the employer paid $18,291 in civil money penalties due to the repeat nature of the violations.
A 2008 investigation of the Los Tres Caminos Inc., operating as Los Tres Caminos Mexican Restaurant in Peru, Indiana, found violations identical to those in the current case. The owner of Los Tres Caminos in Evansville is the owner of the Peru restaurant and has ownership interest in eight additional Mexican-cuisine restaurants in Indiana and Illinois.
This investigation was part of WHD’s National Food Services Education and Enforcement Initiative focused on compliance in the food-services industry nationwide.
“Employers must ensure their employees receive all wages they are legally due, and they must not violate federal wage laws in an attempt to gain an unfair competitive advantage over those employers that abide by the law,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Patricia Lewis in Indianapolis, Indiana. “Other employers in this industry should use the resolution of this case as an opportunity to review their own pay practices to ensure they comply with the law, and avoid costly violations like those 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, and confidential calls to local WHD offices.
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 https://www.dol.gov/agencies/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 paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, 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.
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