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Friday, November 30, 2012

US sues Los Arcos Mexican Grill & Seafood in Tennessee to recover unpaid minimum and overtime wages for 70 employees

Workers' Compensation payment rates are determined by the wages of the employee at the time of the accident. In fact, so are the premium paid by an employer for workers' compensation coverage. Accuracy in payment and reporting is critical to a favorable claim for benefits.

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against Los Arcos Seafood & Grill Inc., doing business as Los Arcos Mexican Grill & Seafood in Nashville, and its owners, Jose Gutierrez Jr. and Martin Romo, for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. The department is seeking $227,366 in back wages plus an equal amount in liquidated damages for 70 employees.

The suit is based on an investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division, which found that the employer failed to pay employees at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as provide overtime compensation at time and one-half employees' regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Additionally, the employer failed to maintain accurate records of hours worked and wages paid.

"Low-wage workers deserve the full protection of federal labor laws," said Sandra Sanders, director of the division's Nashville District Office. "The Wage and Hour Division will continue to ensure that these workers, including employees of both full- and limited-service restaurants, receive their full pay, and employers who follow the law do not face unfair competition from those who ignore it. This lawsuit illustrates that the division will use every enforcement tool necessary to resolve cases in which vulnerable workers have been exploited."

The suit has been filed by the department's Office of the Solicitor in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. In general, "hours worked" includes all time an employee must be on duty, or on the employer's premises or at any other prescribed place of work, from the beginning of the first principal work activity to the end of the last principal activity of the workday. Additionally, the law requires that accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained.

Accessible and searchable information on enforcement activities by the Department of Labor is available at Publicly available enforcement data are also available through the free mobile application "Eat Shop Sleep," which enables consumers, employees and other members of the public to check if a hotel, restaurant or retail location has been investigated by the Wage and Hour Division, and whether FLSA violations were found. The app is available at

The division's Nashville office can be reached at 615-781-5343. Information on the FLSA and other wage laws is available by calling the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or by visiting

Solis v. Los Arcos Seafood & Grill Inc., doing business as Los Arcos Mexican Grill & Seafood, and Jose Gutierrez Jr. and Martin Romo

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