U.S. Department of Labor Recovers $82,398 in Back Wages From La Unica Restaurant

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After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Brawi Inc. – operating as La Unica Mexican Restaurant in Huntersville, North Carolina – has paid $82,398 in back wages and liquidated damages to 10 employees for violating the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

WHD investigators found the restaurant paid some employees, including cooks, dishwashers, and bussers, flat salaries each workweek without regard to the number of hours they actually worked. This practice resulted in violations when those employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but were not paid overtime. La Unica also failed to keep records of the number of hours these employees worked each week, violating FLSA recordkeeping requirements.

“Paying a set salary does not excuse employers from having to pay overtime to nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours per week,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Richard Blaylock, in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Employers must familiarize themselves with federal wage laws to ensure their employees receive the wages they have rightfully earned. This investigation should serve as an opportunity for other employers to evaluate their pay practices to ensure that they are operating in compliance. Violations like these can be avoided.”

The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.

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