New Hampshire restaurants pay $890K in wage theft

Two restaurants in Hampshire are ordered to pay $890,196 – $445,085 in back wages to 63 employees to resolve several violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The restaurants must also pay an equal amount in damages.

New Hampshire restaurants pay $890K in wage theft

The agreement came after an investigation and litigation by the United States Department of Labor. The Pay and Hours Division investigation found that La Carreta in Derry and La Carreta in Londonderry, both operating under La Carreta Mexican Restaurant, violated the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime and administrative requirements requirements.

The story demonstrates the importance of small businesses complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act and paying all employees correctly and fairly. Violating the law of the Ministry of Labor can lead not only to hefty fines, but also significant reputational damage. The case reaffirms the need for small business owners to understand the requirements of the FLSA.

Value of Knowing and Understanding FLSA Requirements

Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven McKinney in Manchester, New Hampshire, commented on the matter and the importance of paying employees fairly:

“Paying restaurant staff directly for their overtime and forcing servers to work for tips only with no cash wages is just wage theft.

“While we often find such violations in the restaurant industry, if employers know and understand the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, these violations can be easily prevented. We encourage them to contact us with any questions they may have about their legal responsibilities.”

Summary of Violations

The Wage and Hours Division found that the restaurants had paid only four tips from their workers, resulting in violations of minimum wage requirements. The companies did not pay overtime to the employees who received only tips. They were also found to be violating overtime rules, by paying employees entitlement for more than 40 hours worked per week. The restaurants also had not kept accurate time records for certain employees.

In addition to paying back wages and damages, the injunction prevents employers from interfering with the FLSA’s wages, administration and anti-retaliation requirements in the future.

The companies must also cooperate with any US Department of Labor investigation under the FLSA. Such collaboration includes providing researchers with access to all required data and providing honest answers, information and documents.

Commenting on the case, Maia Fisher, Regional Solicitor of Labor in Boston, said they are encouraging employers to see how the department will aggressively litigate to get wages back. Fisher continues that they hope employees will feel confident to bring complaints about wage theft to the department.

Image: Depositphotos

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