Employers: La Catrina 1 Inc., operating as La Catrina Tacos & Tequila Bar 155 Hampton Point, Saint Augustine, FL 32092 La Catrina 2 Inc., operating as La Catrina Tacos & Tequila Bar 2710 Blanding Blvd., Middleburg, FL 32068Investigation findings: U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found Victoria Espinoza and Nora Carlon, owners of two North Florida restaurants, required some workers to arrive before the restaurant opened to prep for the day’s shift and to clean at the end of their shifts after clocking out for the day. By doing so, the employer committed a minimum wage violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act for not compensating employees for all hours worked, and an overtime violation for not paying a time-and-one-half rate for hours over 40 in a workweek.In addition, the restaurant violated federal regulations by not paying a cash wage to tipped workers and requiring them to work for tips only. By doing so, the employer could no longer claim a tip credit and owed the affected workers the full minimum wage for their time worked, including overtime compensation for hours worked over 40.The division also learned the employer allowed three 15-year-old children to work at its Saint Augustine location for more than three hours per day and more than 18 hours per week when school was in session, and past 7 p.m. on school days and past 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day, all violations of the federal child labor provisions.Back wages/liquidated damages: $124,592 in back wages and liquidated damages for 39 workers.Civil money penalties: $4,746 in civil money penalties to address the child labor violations. Quote: “Our investigation found the operators of La Catrina Tacos & Tequila Bar locations in Saint Augustine and Middleburg shortchanged dozens of workers of their hard-earned wages and illegally employed children in violation of federal regulations,” said Wage and Hour Division Deputy Regional Administrator Wildalí De Jesús in Atlanta. “These types of violations are all too common in the restaurant industry. Other employers should use this case as an opportunity to review their own pay practices to ensure they comply with the law.”Background: Employers can contact the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including its search tool to learn if you are owed back wages collected by the division and an overview about the FLSA protections for restaurant workers. Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS timesheet app for free in English or Spanish.
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