Orange County Company Sued for Wage Theft
A Los Angeles area restaurant chain has been ordered to pay up nearly $104,000 for labor violations.
According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, 3 Amigos Fresh Mexican Grill restaurants will pay 33 of its workers a total of $104,000 in back pay and damages.
The decision comes after a two-year Labor Department investigation, which found that three of the restaurants did not pay workers the required amount of time and one-half for overtime work.
Hourly employees including cooks, assistant manager and kitchen managers were paid only their straight time rates regardless of how many hours they worked.
This is a violation of the overtime requirements mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The restaurants’ owner has agreed to pay $51,806 in overtime back wages in addition to an equal and separate amount of damages totaling $103,613.
The restaurants that were part of the investigation are located in Thousand Oaks, Woodland Hills and Newbury Park.
Overtime Laws in California
Under California labor laws, non-exempt employees cannot work more than eight hours a day or more than 40 hours a week unless he or she gets one and one-half times his or her regular rate of pay for all hours worked overtime.
After six consecutive days, wages are one and a half the regular rate of pay and after 12 hours, overtime wages are twice the regular rate of pay. Also, after six consecutive days, wages are double the regular rate of pay after eight hours.
Understanding Your Rights
There is no question that labor laws can be confusing and complicated. But, it is important that you are paid every penny for which you work, and it is also crucial that you properly understand your rights. You are entitled to overtime pay unless you are an exempt employee, which means you manage people.
If you believe your job has been misclassified just to avoid paying you overtime, it is critical that you contact an attorney. It doesn’t matter if your employer pays you cash or if you are undocumented. The law protects all residents who are working in California.
Also remember that your employer cannot fire you just because you asked them to pay the overtime that is due to you. If you are fired, that is called “retaliation” and your employer can be held liable for lost wages, future wages and emotional distress.
If you believe your labor rights have been violated, please contact an experienced Los Angeles employment lawyer to better understand your legal rights and options.