US Department of Labor recovers $469K in back wages, damages from California restaurants operator that denied overtime pay to 114 workers
BURLINGAME, CA – A federal investigation has recovered more than $469,000 in back wages and damages after a Northern California restaurant chain’s pay practices denied 114 workers of their fully earned wages at five Bay-area locations.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found Suleiman Fakhouri & Sons, the operator of Crepevine, did not pay employees overtime properly at its locations in Berkeley, Burlingame, Oakland, Palo Alto and San Jose. The division also learned the employer assigned minors to work later and longer than federal child labor laws permit.
In addition to the recovery of $234,636 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, the department assessed $82,706 in civil money penalties for the willful nature of the employer’s violations.
Investigators determined Suleiman Fakhouri & Sons violated overtime and child labor provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Specifically, the division cited Crepevine for the following violations:
- Failing to combine hours employees worked at more than one location.
- Paying overtime hours worked in cash at straight-time rates, when time and one-half is required.
- Failing to keep records of cash payments for overtime in its payroll records.
- Allowing 14- and 15-year-old employees to work past 7 p.m., more than 3 hours on school nights and more than 18 hours on school weeks.
- Not keeping records for several employees and not registering their hours worked and wages due.
“Employers such as Crepevine who employ workers at more than one location must combine the total hours worked an all locations to pay workers accurately to avoid overtime violations and, in this case, costly consequences,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Susana Blanco in San Jose, California. “The onus is on employers to ensure their employees are paid fully and that workers receive all of the protections they are due.”
Since its incorporation in 1992, Suleiman Fakhouri & Sons has operated Crepevine restaurants in the Bay Area. The enterprise now has nine Bay Area locations. In addition to the Berkeley, Burlingame, Oakland, Palo Alto and San Jose locations in this investigation, the employers operates Crepevine restaurants in Mountain View, San Francisco, San Rafael and Santa Rosa.
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. Employers and workers can call the division confidentially with questions, regardless of where they are from. The department can speak with callers confidentially in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – free and now available in Spanish – to track hours and pay.