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Santa Ana, Calif. eatery serves up $96K in back OT, penalties

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

The couple who owns El Calamar restaurant in Orange County has agreed to settle federal charges that they violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when they failed to pay cooks for all the overtime they worked.

The owners often routinely listed each cook as having worked precisely 80 hours for each two-week pay period even when they worked longer hours.

When they did pay the cooks for overtime hours, they paid straight time—often in cash—instead of at time-and-a-half, as the FLSA requires.

To settle the charges, the owners of the Santa Ana eatery have agreed to use an electronic timekeeping system and stop paying employees in cash.

The restaurant will pay workers $48,007 in back overtime—plus an equal amount in damages.

Note: Poor payroll records raise red flags for Department of Labor investigators. Cash payments, in particular, will encourage them to dig deeper into shady pay practices.

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