After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware has ordered the operator of El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant in Wilmington to pay $128,051 in back wages and an equal amount in damages to 20 employees for violating the minimum and overtime wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
WHD investigators found that from February 15, 2016, to February 10, 2019, the employer paid servers a cash wage that was less than the federal minimum cash wage of $2.13 per hour required by the FLSA for tipped employees.
"Employers are responsible for paying their employees all the wages they have legally earned for all the hours they have worked," said Wage and Hour District Director James Cain.
The lower wage was a result of the employer's deduction of $1 per hour from employee wages in order to pay an employee who cleaned the restaurant. El Tapatio also failed to pay workers overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.
WHD also found El Tapatio failed to maintain accurate payroll records by not recording all the hours employees worked each week, and failed to post a required FLSA poster. In addition to the back wages and damages, the court ordered the employer to pay a civil penalty of $8,458 assessed by WHD for the willful nature of the violations.
"The resolution of this case demonstrates our commitment to ensuring employees are paid what they have legally earned, as well as our continued efforts to level the playing field for employers who comply with the law," said Regional Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III in Philadelphia.