HIXSON, TN – A U.S. Department of Labor investigation has led to the recovery of $17,006 for five workers of a Hixson restaurant that failed to pay them their correct overtime wages.
Investigators from the Wage and Hour Division found that El Fogòn Inc., operator of El Fogòn Mexican Restaurant, calculated overtime rates using an incorrect rate for tipped employees. By doing so, the employer paid overtime at rates lower than required by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In addition, the division learned the employer did not have accurate records of hours worked for employees, denied overtime pay to employees whose hours were unrecorded and others not on the payroll.
“Employers who fail to pay full legal wages to their employees gain an unfair advantage over their law-abiding competitors,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Lisa Kelly in Nashville, Tennessee. “Our investigation into El Fogòn’s pay practices has recovered an average of $3,400 per employee, a meaningful amount of money for workers who rely mostly on tips to make ends meet.”
Agency investigators received information about the employer’s pay practices through the Employment, Education, and Outreach alliance. The alliance is a collaboration of community organizations, state, local and federal agencies and Hispanic consulates that provides information and assistance to Spanish-speaking employees and employers regarding workplace rights and responsibilities. Its toll-free hotline is answered in Spanish and connects callers with an organization, consulate, state or federal agency to address their labor-related concern or question.
“Our EMPLEO alliance helps to reach workers who may be unaware of their legal rights as employees or fearful about raising their concerns,” Kelly added. “The Wage and Hour Division offers resources to employers and employees in many languages to help them understand their responsibilities and rights under the law.”
Employees and employers can also contact the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE (487-9243) or the EMPLEO hotline by calling (877) 522-9832 or (877) 55-AYUDA. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions – regardless of where they are from – and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.
Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use, in English and Spanish, if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iPhone Timesheet App – now available in Spanish – for free.
Read this news release En Español.