Three restaurants in Minnesota and one in northern Iowa will pay $831,232 in back wages to 113 current and former employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s wage and hour division (WHD).

Investigators found violations of the minimum wage, overtime and record keeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at the four restaurants.

Plaza Garibaldi – a part of Las Lomas Inc. and owned by Janete Alvarez Campos based in Redwood Falls – will pay $151,269 to 30 employees.

La Terraza Mexican Grill and Bar – a part of Los Ocampo Inc. and owned by Janete Alvarez Campos and Leticia Salazar Rizo based in Mankato – will pay $160,182 to 26 employees.

Plaza Garibaldi Authentic Mexican Restaurant Inc. – owned by Janete Alvarez Campos, Denise Y. Fernandez and Leticia Salazar Rizo based in New Ulm, Minnesota – will pay $390,067 to 31 employees.

Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant – part of Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant Inc. and owned by Janete Alvarez Campos, Leticiz Salazar Rizo and Benjamin Alberto Ruiz based in Mason City, Iowa – will pay $129,714 to 26 employees.

WHD investigators found the restaurants, in some instances, required servers to “kick back” their hourly wages and work only for tips. 

The employer also paid bussers, food runners, cooks and dishwashers’ flat salaries, without regard to the number of hours they worked. This practice resulted in minimum wage violations when those salaries failed to cover employees’ hours at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, and in overtime violations when employees worked more than 40 hours in a work week without being paid overtime.

Additional minimum wage violations occurred when the employers deducted the cost of uniforms from servers’ wages. The owners’ failure to record and pay workers for some of the hours that they worked resulted in additional minimum wage and overtime violations, and in record keeping violations.

“Employers must pay their employees the wages they have legally earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director David King of 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.”

Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available online at www.dol.gov