Unemployed workers often have issues trying to get their final wages from an unsavory employer who suddenly decides to close the business.
Former employees of two Mexican restaurants in the Houston area are alleging that the owner abruptly closed the businesses and never gave them their outstanding wages.
Restaurants close and the owner does not answer his former workers
The owner was responsible for the operation of Montrose Tex-Mex Restaurant and El Réal Tex-Mex Cafe. Workers at these locations allege that the owner shut the businesses down without warning, then essentially disappeared without paying them. Some of the former employees even started a fundraiser to help offset their costs and pay their bills until they find new employment.
The Restaurants were highly regarded by local diners after their opening in 2011. They were also known for creativity in both the dishes they served and their marketing campaigns. However, the restaurants announced that they were closing in October of 2019, without giving any kind of warning to their employees or notice to the public. All workers at both locations were suddenly unemployed the next day.
Workers staged protests outside of the locations, saying that the owner owes them several weeks of pay and that he had illegally withheld tips on prior occasions. There were also prior issues with bounced checks that were cashed by workers. Since the closures, many of his employees have attempted to contact the ownership without receiving any kind of response. They have resorted to spreading awareness on social media and contacting labor organizations.
One worker shared a story where the owner owes her approximately $1700 in unpaid tips, not counting her regular wages. Others say that he had promised to pay the back wages in the past, but never actually came through with the money. The only statement released by the owner at the time of the closing said that he had recently experienced tragic life events and was unable to find a partner to help him keep operations going, so he decided to close permanently. Local news networks attempted to make contact with him on several occasions but received no response.
Ensuring that businesses pay their workers appropriately
All businesses are required by law to keep accurate records of all hours worked by employees at pay appropriate wages, including overtime, based on state and federal law. Businesses who fail to follow these labor regulations can find themselves in court, and the government can decide to take additional actions against them. Aside from the back wages, additional punitive damages may be available as a form of punishment to deter the business from withholding wages in the future.
Speak with a lawyer about unpaid wages in your area
Attorneys who focus on unemployed workers and wage issues can give you professional guidance and advice in the Houston area. To get more information, contact:
440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675, Houston, TX 77002