Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) ordered the owners of the Don Carlos chain of Mexican restaurants to pay nearly $100,000 in unpaid overtime wages to its employees.
Officials also reportedly ordered DC Broadway, the parent company, to pay an equivalent amount in “liquidated damages” to 24 employees.
Records show the order comes after a federal investigation into the restaurant chain’s violations of Fair Labor Standards Act regarding the recording of overtime hours.
Investigators said they found, when an employee received an order to work at more than one of the company’s three locations in a week, the company failed to add up the total hours and record any hours over the standard 40-hour week as eligible for overtime pay.
The company also reportedly failed to record the hours of a part-time employee working at a flat rate.
“Employers that pay employees less than what they have legally earned short change their workers and gain an unfair advantage over competitors that abide by the law,” Betty Campbell, Southwest Regional Administrator for the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, provided in a press release. “We are committed to helping employers understand their obligations, and encourage employers and employees alike to reach out to us for guidance or assistance.”
DOL officials ultimately ordered the company to pay the affected employees $97,080 in overtime wages, plus the same amount in damages.
Representatives for DC Broadway did not comment publicly on the ruling, and no criminal charges or civil lawsuits are announced at this time.
Don Carlos isn’t the only iconic Houston restaurant chain to be accused of failing to pay workers overtime wages:
In April 2017, a group of employees sued Shipley Do-Nuts for failing to pay time-and-a-half for their hours beyond the 40-hour work week.
This is a developing story.