DES MOINES, IA — An Iowa restaurant recently agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor to resolve claims that the company engaged in systemic wage theft to defraud dozens of workers out of their overtime pay. As part of the agreement, Rojas LLC and Ocha Inc., which do business as El Rodeo Mexican Restaurants in Urbandale, will pay a combined $833,992 in back wages and liquidated damages to 64 current and former workers and end the investigation into violations of federal labor and wage laws.
An investigation by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that the defendant violated several provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which sets national standards for minimum wage and overtime pay. Investigators with the Division determined workers at El Rodeo Mexican Restaurants frequently worked more than 40 hours in a week but did not receive one and a half times their average hourly rate of pay for their overtime wages.
“Employees depend on receiving all the wages they have rightfully earned,” said Adam Wombacher, Wage and Hour Acting District Director in Des Moines. “The resolution of this case demonstrates our commitment to those workers, and to providing employers the tools they need to comply with the law. Our work levels the playing field for employers who play by the rules.”
In addition to failing to pay overtime wages, the restaurant also made an automatic $20 deduction from the servers’ pay every day, which went to the management. Furthermore, the defendant did not maintain accurate payroll records detailing all of their employees’ hour worked and wages earned. Instead, payroll records showed employees were only paid for 80 hours of work every two weeks, regardless of how many hours they actually put into their jobs.
Unfortunately, this type of wage theft is all too common in the restaurant industry and the federal government cannot investigate every single instance of wage theft. However, the FLSA does give wage theft victims the right to hire private attorneys to file civil lawsuit in federal court to recover their back pay, damages, and attorneys fees.
Restaurant Worker Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.
Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.