The U.S. Department of Labor announced that La Unica Mexican Restaurant in Huntersville, North Carolina paid $82,398 in back wages to 10 of its employees because La Unica violated the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The restaurant violated federal wage law because it paid all employees a flat salary each week, regardless of the number of hours worked. The restaurant also failed to properly record the number of hours worked by the employees each week.
The Fair Labor Standards Act or "FLSA" requires that non-exempt employees be paid overtime for all hours worked over 40 each workweek. Paying a flat salary to a non-exempt employee does not excuse an employer from paying overtime. Whether an employee is exempt from overtime depends on the job duties the employee performs. In most cases, dishwashers, bussers, servers, hostesses, food runners, and most cooks are non-exempt employees and entitled to be paid overtime.
Employees who believe they are being paid incorrectly have the right to complain to the Department of Labor or hire a private attorney to represent them. The Charlotte employment attorneys at Gibbons Leis, PLLC have helped thousands of employees recover unpaid wages and overtime. Employees who hire a private attorney often collect a larger amount of unpaid wages and overtime. The FLSA allows employees who are shorted overtime pay to collect double damages. When employers resolve cases with the Department of Labor, the settlements often include provisions that waive the payment of double damages.