$121,758 in Back Wages and Penalties for Overtime Pay Violations

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Casa Guadalupe, a local San Francisco grocery store chain, has been ordered to pay $110,071 in overtime back wages and liquidated damages to 25 current and former employees of its three Mission District stores. A U.S. District Court judge ordered the payment following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, which disclosed that Pedro Gil, owner of the local chain, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The department also assessed $11,687 in civil money penalties against the employer because of the willful and repeat nature of the labor violations. Gil admitted that he knowingly did not pay the required overtime wages. Federal investigators found similar violations of the FLSA during a previous investigation that determined $6,496 in overtime back wages were due to three workers.

The order resolves a lawsuit filed by the department against Casa Guadalupe and Gil in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit maintained that employees were paid at their regular hourly rates and did not receive the required overtime premium of one and one-half times their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. In addition, the employer did not maintain records of the hours employees worked, in violation of the FLSA.

The court order prohibits Casa Guadalupe and its owner from committing future FLSA violations, requires the employer to conduct managerial FLSA training, to hire a third-party monitor to conduct audits of compliance for the next three years, and to post legal notices in English and Spanish to all employees regarding the disclosed violations.

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, as well as one and one-half times their regular hourly rates of pay for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are paid directly to the affected employees.

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