El Paso Mexican Grill restaurant will pay $654,366 in back wages to 567 employees to resolve violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act at 23 of of its Louisiana and Florida locations, accordeing to the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.
According to the agency's investigation, these amounts are owed at the company's area locations: Cut Off, $2,662.30 to 15 employees; Houma, $6,467.45 to 16 employees; Raceland, $13,494.05 to 15 employees; and Thibodaux, $9,953.65 to 14 employees.
El Paso violated minimum wage requirements when it deducted costs for uniforms from workers' pay and didn't pay them for all of the hours they worked, the Labor Department said in a news release.
"The restaurant also paid some kitchen staff flat salaries, without regard to the number of hours that they worked. This practice resulted in overtime violations when those employees worked more than 40 hours in a week but were not paid additional overtime," the Labor Department said.
The agency added that El Paso also violated overtime requirements when it paid tipped employees time-and-one-half of their direct cash wages for their overtime hours instead of basing their rates on the $7.25 per hour minimum wage. It also failed to keep an accurate record of hours worked by salaried kitchen staff, and inaccurate recording of wait staff's earnings violated the Fair Labor Standards Act's recordkeeping rules.
"Companies that fail to pay employees the wages they have legally earned must not gain a competitive advantage over those that comply with the law," said Troy Mouton, Wage and Hour Division New Orleans District director. "The U.S. Department of Labor encourages restaurant owners and all employers to reach out to their local Wage and Hour Division office for information about how to comply and to make use of the many tools we offer to explain their responsibilities and how to avoid violations."
For information about federal laws on pay and hours worked, call 866-487-9243 or visit www.dol.gov/whd.