MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than $800,000 will be paid in back wages to 113 former and current restaurant employees after investigators found their employers were guilty of several labor laws violations.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found three restaurants in Minnesota and one in northern Iowa did not adhere to Fair Labor Standards Act requirements regarding minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping.

The restaurants facing the fines totaling $831,232 are Plaza Garibaldi in Redwood Falls, Minnesota; La Terraza Mexican Grill and Bar in Mankato, Minnesota; Plaza Garibaldi Authentic Mexican Grill in New Ulm, Minnesota; and Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant in Mason City, Iowa.

All four restaurants are partly owned by Janete Alvarez Campos and Leticia Salazar Rizo. Additional owners include Denise Fernandez at Plaza Garibaldi Authentic Mexican Restaurant and Benjamin Ruiz at La Palmas Mexican Restaurant.

The investigators found some servers were requires to “kick back” their hourly wages and only work for tips, while others were only paid a flat wage, no matter how many hours they worked. The employers also deducted the cost of uniforms from servers’ wages, which resulted in the violation minimum wage laws.

“Employers must pay their employees the wages they have legally earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director David King in Minneapolis. “We encourage employers to make use of the many tools the Wage and Hour Division provides to help them understand their obligations, and to contact us for assistance.”


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