$672,333 Recovered by Labor Department Wage and Hour Division for Minimum Wage and Overtime Violations in the Restaurant Industry in San Francisco and Los Angeles

 
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
 

Ongoing enforcement initiatives conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division that focused on the restaurant industry in California have uncovered significant violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under these initiatives, personnel from the division's San Francisco and Los Angeles District Offices conducted several restaurant investigations in 2012. They recovered $672,333 in unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation for 273 employees working as cooks, bussers, servers and other restaurant staff.

Wage and Hour Division investigators conducted thorough reviews of payroll records and employment practices, in addition to employee interviews to assess employer compliance with all applicable labor standards. Common FLSA violations uncovered during these investigations include not paying employees for all hours worked, such as pre-shift and post-shift work; paying employees cash wages "off the books;" paying fixed salaries for all hours worked, without regard to minimum wage and overtime requirements; missing payroll or failing to pay employees on scheduled pay days; and not maintaining accurate records of employees' wages and work hours.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as time and one-half their regular rates for hours worked over 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.

The department has a smart phone application to help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed. Available in English and Spanish, users can conveniently track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours for one or more employers. This new technology is significant because, instead of solely relying on their employers' records, workers can now keep their own records.

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