Investigation of Orem bakery, restaurant and grocer recovers $32K in overtime back wages for 8 workers; finds minor doing hazardous work
OREM, UT – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $32,356 in overtime back wages for eight workers, and identified child labor violations after its investigation of an Orem employer whose business operates as a bakery, restaurant and grocery store.
Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found El Mexicano Market Inc. paid the workers a salary at straight-time rates in an attempt to avoid overtime pay. By doing so, the employer failed to pay overtime when the employees worked more than 40 hours in a work week, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The division also determined the employer allowed a minor to use a power-driven baler to wrap and bind cardboard. Federal child labor law prohibits employers from allowing minors to operate power-driven balers, compactors and paper-products machines. The division assessed El Mexicano Market Inc. $1,864 in civil money penalties for that violation.
“Workers are entitled to receive all of their hard-earned wages and a safe working environment,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Kevin Hunt in Salt Lake City. “This investigation found that El Mexicano Market wrongly denied overtime to some employees and exposed a young worker to dangerous working conditions that could have resulted in serious injury or worse. We encourage all employers to review their pay practices and child labor protections to avoid similar violations.”
El Mexicano Market Inc. in Orem is the company’s second location. Its first in Los Angeles sells groceries, meats and deli products, and offers catering services.
In fiscal year 2021, the Wage and Hour Division recovered more than $34.7 million in back wages for workers in the food service industry. During the same period, investigators found hazardous occupations’ violations by employers involved more than 500 minors.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s 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. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.