News Release

US Department of Labor recovers $447K in back wages, damages for 60 grocery workers denied overtime by Kern County employer

Fiesta Market, Mi Rancho Market, Fiesta Market #2 assessed $24K in penalties

SACRAMENTO, CA The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $447,952 in back wages and damages from the operator of three Kern County grocery stores for 60 workers after a federal investigation found the employer illegally withheld overtime wages for hours over 40 in a workweek.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined the owners of Fiesta Market and Mi Rancho Market in McFarland and Fiesta Market #2 in Lamont excluded the affected employees from overtime eligibility and, by doing so, failed to pay them overtime as required by law. The division also found the employer did not meet federal recordkeeping requirements. The employer’s actions violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act

The investigation led the division to recover $223,976 in unpaid overtime wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. In addition, the department assessed $24,210 in civil money penalties for the willful nature of the employer’s violations.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that all workers receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Cesar Avila in Sacramento. “The division uses every tool at its disposal to protect workers’ rights and help employers understand their obligations and avoid violations. We invite anyone with questions to contact us for assistance.” 

Workers can use the Wage and Hour Division’s Workers Owed Wages search tool to check if they are owed back wages collected by the division. Employers and workers can contact the division confidentially for help at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from. The division can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and i-OS Timesheet App for free in English or Spanish.  

This news release is also available in Spanish.   

Wage and Hour Division
April 18, 2024
Release Number
Media Contact: Michael Petersen
Media Contact: Jose Carnevali