US Department of Labor sues Kansas restaurants, owner to recover $771K in minimum wage and overtime back wages, damages for 75 employees
KANSAS CITY, KS – The U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit against the owner of two Kansas restaurants who allegedly denied minimum and overtime wages to kitchen staff, servers, hosts and food runners after some worked as many as 66 hours per week.
Filed on March 15, 2023, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, the department’s complaint alleges El Toro Loco Legends LLC in Kansas City and El Toro Loco Lenexa LLC in Lenexa, and owner Alfonzo Herrera Hernandez, committed multiple violations of the federal minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping requirements. The suit also names general manager Eugenio Yanez and location manager Yareli Perez.
The court filing comes after an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division identified the violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and ordered the employers to pay $771,794 – $385,897 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages – to 75 employees of the restaurants to resolve its infractions.
Specifically, division investigators determined the employers paid servers a cash wage of $2.30 per hour and then either paid them for 80 hours a pay period regardless of the number of hours they worked or paid time and one-half their cash wage of $2.30 per hour for overtime. By law, employers must pay tipped workers time-and-one-half the minimum wage minus the tip credit.
The division also found the restaurants paid kitchen workers, hosts and food runners a fixed wage, regardless of how many hours they worked, and denied overtime to a manager who failed to meet exemption requirements.
“Overtime violations in the restaurant industry are far too common, particularly among vulnerable employees who don’t understand their rights to overtime compensation under federal law,” said Wage and Hour District Director Reed Trone in Kansas City, Missouri. “The Wage and Hour Division provides confidential advice, if needed, to workers and employers unsure of federal wage standards and compliance with the law.”
The investigation reviewed the employer’s payroll records from May 24, 2020, to May 22, 2022. The department filed its complaint after El Toro Loco Legends LLC, El Toro Loco Lenexa LLC and Hernandez refused to resolve the wage violations administratively. The department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor in Kansas City, Missouri is litigating the case.
The FLSA requires the payment of minimum wage and overtime at time and one-half a worker’s average hourly rate of pay, including bonuses. Learn about specific FLSA rules for the restaurant industry.
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 and how to file an online complaint. For confidential compliance assistance, employees and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from.
Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – also available in Spanish – to ensure hours and pay are accurate.
Su v. El Toro Loco Legends LLC, El Toro Loco Lenexa LLC in Lenexa, Alfonzo Herrera Hernandez, Eugenio Yanez, Yareli Perez.
U.S. District Court for the Kansas