All employers are required by both federal and state regulations to pay workers in accordance with certain labor laws. Businesses who violate these laws can be served with a civil lawsuit or sanctioned by the department of labor.
The Houston restaurant chain Taconmadre will have to pay out thousands of dollars to workers after it was discovered that they did not properly observe and honor minimum wage and overtime laws.
Department of labor finds dozens of workers were underpaid by employer
An investigation revealed that workers were not paid according to minimum wage laws, and they did not receive overtime pay for work in excess of 40 hours at three different locations in the chain. The Department of Labor also found that the employer had been making illegal deductions for uniforms and lost items from workers’ paychecks, and the restaurant was not keeping proper and accurate records of hours and wages, as required by law. A total of 72 employees were affected by these problems.
A regional administrator with the labor board said that the business routinely failed to honor the rights of its workers and took advantage of them in several different ways. She commented that it was unacceptable that some workers had logged about 90 hours in a week and received absolutely no overtime pay. The total amount of backpay and unpaid wages that will go to all of the affected employees is just over $275,000.
The parent company that owns the Taconmadre chain, called Ernesto Enterprises, cooperated with the Department of Labor during the investigation.
Getting help when an employer refuses to pay workers properly
Some businesses are notorious for not paying their workers properly. Unfortunately, this can go on for an extended period of time until someone notifies a local labor board or brings a lawsuit. Workers should know that they have a right to be paid in accord with the federal minimum wage, or their state’s minimum wage if they are entitled to a higher amount. Workplaces also cannot force workers to log more than 40 hours without ensuring that they are paid overtime wages. Some businesses try to do things such as classify workers as independent contractors or salaried employees to bypass these laws. This is still illegal in most cases.
After it becomes apparent that an employer is withholding wages, a worker who is affected can contact a local labor board or employment commission to begin an investigation. They should also retain their own lawyer to represent their interests if it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit.
Labor attorneys in your city can help
To speak with an attorney in Houston about unpaid wages, unemployment, or other labor and employment issues, contact:
440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675, Houston, TX 77002