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Wage & hour lawsuit yields major windfall for affected employees

The following story deals with a specific restaurant with four locations in a small area outside of California. But the location isn't the crucial part of this story -- it is the wage and hour violation the restaurant committed, and how it relates to any and all restaurant employees in this state and all across the country.

129 employees and former employees of El Azteca sued the restaurant for not paying them minimum wage and also failing to give them overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a week. Their lawsuit was recently ruled upon, and a court decided that El Azteca had to pay $700,000 for their wage and hour violations -- $350,000 for back wages and $350,000 in damages.

The violations were detailed in the source article for this post. El Azteca failed to keep proper records of how long people were working, meaning that some workers simply weren't paid for the amount of work they were actually doing in a week. In addition, El Azteca paid kitchen staff a flat rate, meaning those staff members didn't get paid overtime -- a violation of the rules. And El Azteca also would deduct expenses from their employees paychecks for uniforms, name tags and aprons.

Sadly, the restaurant industry is rife with this kind of mistreatment of employees. Managers and owners may neglect the important recordkeeping responsibilities that they have, and they take advantage of their employees who likely don't know about their shady practices. This is unacceptable, and any employees affected should consider legal action.

Source: Post-Crescent, "El Azteca will pay $700K in back wages, damages," Duke Behnke, July 6, 2016

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