Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, a taco restaurant with four locations in Seattle, Washington, has paid $419,459 to 92 employees to resolve violations of overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The Department of Labor’s investigation found Tacos Chukis failed to pay employees overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Specifically, the restaurant failed to combine hours that individual employees worked at multiple work sites during the workweek when determining whether they had worked overtime. When employees worked more than 40 hours at a single location, Tacos Chukis artificially divided those hours to make it appear as if employee had worked the hours at two separate locations. The employer then paid for those hours separately, all at straight-time rates.
Under the FLSA, restaurant employees should be paid at a rate of time-and-a-half for all hours worked over 40 per work week. For example, if a line cook at Taco Chukis was making $15.00 per hour, any hours he worked over 40 should have been paid at $22.50.
“Employers are required to pay their employees the wages they have legally earned for all the hours that they work, including overtime,” said a representative of the Department of Labor. “Other employers, especially those with multiple locations, should use the outcome of this investigation as an opportunity to review their own pay practices to ensure they comply with the law.”