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US Labor Department recovers nearly $400,000 in back wages for 129 workers at 9 Mexican restaurants in Ohio

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $397,703 in back wages for 129 workers at nine Mexican restaurants in Ohio owned by Miguel Castro. The restaurants include Mariachi of Canton Inc. and Mariachi of Jackson Inc., located in Canton; Mariachi Loco’s, Mariachi Fiesta Inc. and Mariachi Loco’s Mexican Restaurant in Akron; Plaza Maya in Tallmadge; El Mariachi De Stow in Stow; Mariachi Coco’s in Arlington; and Mariachi Coco’s in Northfield. Employees of these establishments were denied minimum wage and overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Labor Department also has fined the restaurant chain $11,000 in civil money penalties for willful and repeat violations of the FLSA.

“Vulnerable, low-wage workers often do not know their legal rights under federal labor laws and have limited employment options,” said George Victory, district director of the department’s Wage and Hour Division in Columbus. “Businesses are obligated to pay their workers fairly, and the Labor Department will ensure that those who are taken advantage of are properly compensated for all of their work.”

After conducting employee interviews and reviewing time and payroll records, Wage and Hour Division investigators determined that the restaurants and Castro violated the FLSA by failing to compensate tipped employees with a minimum hourly rate for hours worked, and to pay overtime to salaried employees who are covered by the act – servers, cooks, dishwashers and bussers – for all hours worked over 40 in a week. Cooks, dishwashers and bussers were paid cash salaries and worked as many as 65 hours per week without overtime compensation, while servers received tips only. The restaurant also failed to keep accurate pay and time records.  The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records.  (click on link to read full story)

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