SELBYVILLE, DE – A federal court has ordered a Selbyville business operator to pay $300,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 16 workers – some of whom worked 75 hours or more a week for a flat salary while the business kept no time records of the hours they worked. 

Following a U.S Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation, the department filed a complaint alleging that APS Market & Grill LLC – a combined restaurant, grocery store and butcher shop that operates as Taqueria La Sierra – violated provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The department had determined that the employer paid some of its workers on a flat salary basis and did not require them to clock in or out or record their time.

The employer paid employees a fixed salary for all hours worked, and by doing so failed to pay overtime as required when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.  

The consent judgment approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware requires the employer and its owner to pay the back wages and liquidated damages and prohibits them from violating the FLSA in the future. In addition to paying back wages and damages, the employer was also assessed a $5,000 civil money penalty for the willfulness of their violations.

“For workers in the restaurant industry, basic labor rights like minimum wage and overtime are being denied and hard-earned wages are out of reach,” said Wage and Hour District Director James Cain in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “The consent judgment will ensure that these workers receive all of the wages they legally earned and that Taqueria La Sierra is no longer gaining an unfair advantage over other restaurant employers in the area.”

“This judgment sends a clear message to employers that failure to pay employees their rightfully earned wages will not be tolerated,” said Regional Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III in Philadelphia.

View the complaint and consent judgment. 

Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of their immigration status – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the agency, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.

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