U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Injunction Against Illinois Restaurant for Repeated Violations of Federal Wage Laws

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After a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime requirements, a federal judge has issued an injunction against Tequila’s Mexican Bar and Grill – based in Peoria, Illinois – and its owner Hector Munoz and manager Javier Munoz for repeated violations of federal recordkeeping requirements.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael M. Mihm in the Central District of Illinois, Peoria Division, issued the injunction after WHD investigators found the employer failed to record and pay employees for all of the hours they worked. By doing so, the employer violated minimum wage laws when the unpaid time allowed employee’s pay rates to fall below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Overtime violations occurred when the employer paid straight time instead of the required time-and-one-half for hours employees worked beyond 40 in a workweek. In this third investigation of this employer, WHD also found ongoing significant recordkeeping violations, which contributed to the minimum wage and overtime violations.

WHD determined the employer owes $27,155 in back wages to 20 employees.

“Employers must maintain accurate payroll records that clearly detail employee’s hours, pay rates, pay received, and the purpose of any deductions taken, and must pay their employees all the wages they have legally earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Jim Yochim, in St. Louis, Missouri. “Other employers should use this case as a reminder to review their own pay and recordkeeping practices. We encourage employers to contact us for assistance in understanding their responsibilities so that they can avoid violations like those found in this case.”

The court ordered the employer to maintain payroll records, provide each employee a pay statement detailing payroll dates; hours worked and paid; earnings at both regular and overtime rates; gross amount paid; and all deductions. The restaurant must also maintain records of employee personal data and post federal FLSA posters – in both English and Spanish – in an area visible to employees.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by WHD, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the Division.

WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

***Report Courtesy of the United States Department of Labor***

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