Three restaurants in Minnesota and one in Iowa have been ordered to repay 113 workers $831,232 in backpay following a federal investigation.
Investigators for the Department of Labor found that the Mexican restaurants in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa violated minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements.
Here are the restaurants that have been punished following the probe.
– Plaza Garibaldi in Redwood Falls has been ordered to pay $151,269 to 30 employees.
– La Terraza Grill and Bar in Mankato has been ordered to pay $160,182 to 26 employees.
– Plaza Garibaldi Authentic Mexican Restaurant in New Ulm will pay $390,067 to 31 employees.
– Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant in Mason City, Iowa, will pay $129,714 to 26 employees.
The restaurants have a name in common, Janete Alvarez Campos, who is included in the list of owners for all four of the eateries.
The investigation found that in some instances, servers were required to "kick back" their hourly wages and work only for tips.
Bussers, food runners, cooks and dishwashers would also work only for flat salaries, without any consideration for how many hours they worked.
As a result, many of these workers were being paid under the federal minimum $7.25 an hour.
The restaurants would also deduct the cost of staff uniforms from their servers' wagers, and failed to record and pay workers for some of the hours they carried out.
"Employers must pay their employees the wages they have legally earned," said Minneapolis Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division District Director David King in a press release
"We encourage employers to make use of the many the Wage and Hour Division provides to help them understand their obligations, and to contact us for assistance."