CORRECTION: Two New Hampshire restaurants to pay $890K in back wages, damages to 63 employees after US Department of Labor investigation, litigation
MANCHESTER, NH – Two full-service restaurants in Derry and Londonderry and a general manager have agreed to pay $890,169 – $445,085 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages – to 63 employees to resolve numerous willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act following a U.S. Department of Labor investigation and litigation.
The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigation found La Carreta-Derry Inc. and La Carreta-Londonderry LLC – both doing business as La Carreta Mexican Restaurant – and Heriberto Leon, general manager of the Londonderry location, violated the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping requirements. The department then moved for summary judgment in litigation on those violations, which were:
- Paying four servers only tips, resulting in minimum wage underpayments.
- Paying no overtime to these employees who received exclusively tips.
- Paying straight-time wages to employees for hours worked over 40 in a week.
- Failing to maintain accurate time records for certain employees.
In addition to payment of the back wages and liquidated damages, the consent judgement and order, entered in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, restrains the employers from engaging in future violations of the FLSA’s wage, recordkeeping and antiretaliation requirements. It also requires them to cooperate with any U.S. Department of Labor investigation under the FLSA, including providing investigators access to all required records and providing truthful responses, information and documents.
“Paying restaurant workers straight-time for their overtime hours and requiring servers to work for tips only with no cash wages is quite simply wage theft,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven McKinney in Manchester, New Hampshire. “While we often find such violations in the restaurant industry, these violations can easily be prevented if employers know and understand the Fair Labor Standards Act’s requirements. We encourage them to reach out to us with questions they may have about their responsibilities under the law.”
“The department moved for summary judgment in this case, and it was in the wake of that motion that the employers decided to settle for $890,169 in back wages and liquidated damages. This case shows that the department will use all the tools it has under the Fair Labor Standards Act to prevent wage theft and recover stolen wages and liquidated damages,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Maia Fisher in Boston.
“We encourage employers to comply with the FLSA to avoid costly litigation. We also encourage employees to take note of how the department will litigate aggressively to recover wages that have been taken from them, and hope that employees will feel confident bringing wage theft complaints to the department,” Fisher added.
The division’s Northern New England District Office in Manchester conducted the investigation. The department’s Boston Regional Office of the Solicitor litigated the case.
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.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the agency, contact the division’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.
Ed’s note: The release now reflects that the general manager, not the owner, has agreed to pay the back wages and damages.