In early July, a federal judge in Green Bay, Wis. ordered a group of local Mexican restaurants to pay workers a large sum of money for unpaid minimum wage and overtime compensation. The owners, Marco Montalvo, Fe Montalvo and Sergio Jimenez will pay 129 current and former employees a total of $700,000, including $350,000 in back wages and additional $350,000 in liquidated damages. They will also be paying $25,000 in civil money penalties for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Department of Labor filed the lawsuit in February of 2015 following an investigation by their Wage and Hour Division. They found the restaurants failed to pay kitchen staff and servers at least the federal minimum wage and overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek at all four eateries. Their record-keeping failed to record daily and weekly work hours and earning accurately. They paid kitchen staff flat salaries without regard to the number of hours they worked. When the employees worked over 40 hour in a workweek, they were not paid overtime. They also made illegal deductions from servers’ and bussers’ pay for uniform shirts, nametags and aprons. All are violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
David Weil, administrator for the DOL Wage and Hour Division, said, “Expecting employees to work long hours in return for wages below the minimum wage is truly unfair and it is illegal.”