An Akron restaurant must pay $45,781 in back wages and damages to 18 workers after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor determined it violated minimum wage, overtime pay and record-keeping laws.
Azteca Restaurante Mexicano and Salvador B. Alatorre, manager and part-owner of the business, agreed to the payment in a settlement filed in U.S. District Court, the government agency said Monday.
The investigation found that Azteca paid some nonexempt workers — including bus staff, cooks and dishwashers — flat weekly salaries instead of hourly wages.
The salaries didn’t meet the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and did not include overtime pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a week, the agency said. The employees regularly worked 60 or more hours weekly.
Servers were not paid time and a half their regular rates for hours worked over 40 in a week, as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company also failed to maintain accurate pay and time records.
“Some of these employees were paid as little as $350 a week for 60 hours of labor,” George Victory, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Columbus office, said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to protecting the many vulnerable workers employed in the restaurant industry and will vigorously pursue violators to ensure compliance with the law.”
Based on another investigation, the company was assessed $9,450 in civil penalties. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week.
An employer of a tipped employee is required to pay no less than $2.13 an hour in direct wages, provided that the amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages do not equal the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference.