Central California restaurant operator to pay $200K in back wages to 49 workers following US Department of Labor investigation
SHAFTER, CA – U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found that while employees at four Central California restaurants worked hard to ensure customers enjoyed their experience, their employer failed to ensure they received all the wages they had legally earned.
The division’s review of La Fonda Taquería y Mariscos’ payroll practices revealed the employer paid workers at straight-time hourly rates regardless of the number of hours they worked each workweek. By doing so, La Fonda violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements when it failed to pay overtime wages for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Instead, the employer paid workers for their first 40 hours each week on the payroll, by check, but paid for additional hours separately, at straight time rates, often in unrecorded cash. The employer also failed to maintain complete time and payroll records, also a violation of the FLSA.
Following the investigation, La Fonda Taquería y Mariscos will pay $200,682 in back wages to 49 employees, including cooks and cashiers. The division also assessed $23,265 in civil penalties to address the willful nature of the violations.
“Restaurant industry workers are among the lowest-paid essential employees in our nation and are often unaware of their most basic rights,” said Wage and Hour Division Assistant District Director Patricia Canites in Sacramento, California. “Violations like these are all too common and the U.S. Department of Labor is committed to using every enforcement tool available to achieve compliance from employers who willfully violate the law, hurt workers and their families, and take an unlawful advantage of their competitors that abide by the law.”
La Fonda Taquería y Mariscos has restaurants in Shafter and Wasco, and two in Bakersfield.
The Wage and Hour Division enforces the law regardless of a worker’s immigration status, and can speak confidentially with callers in more than 200 languages.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.
Read this news release En Español.