Lowcountry restaurant ordered to pay more than $459k in back wages

Credit: Trip Advisor

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) — A Lowcountry restaurant with locations in Goose Creek and Mount Pleasant will pay more than $459,000 in back pay following a U.S. Labor Department investigation.

On Saturday, November 3, a settlement was reached with the owner of Los Arcos, Alberto Reyes after U.S. Department of Labor investigators found the restaurant violated overtime, minimum wage and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to a news release.

An investigation revealed:

  • Paid cooks and dishwashers fixed salaries without regard to the number of hours they actually worked. This resulted in overtime violations when these employees worked more than 40 hours in a week without additional overtime payment as well as minimum wage violations when they worked so many hours that their salaries failed to cover $7.25 per hour.
  • Failed to pay hourly workers minimum wage and overtime for hours they worked beyond 40 in a workweek.
  • Required wait staff to work only for tips, resulting in minimum wage and overtimes violations.
  • Reduced workers’ pay below minimum wage by charging employees for mandatory uniforms.
  • Failed to maintain required time and payroll records.

“The violations found in this case are all too common in the restaurant industry,” said Jamie Benefiel, director of the division’s Columbia office. “These workers deserve to take home every penny they legally earned, and employers who play by the rules deserve a level playing field. The department will use every tool necessary to achieve compliance and to protect workers’ rights – including the assessment of liquidated damages, and taking legal action when necessary.”

Los Arcos Inc. and Reyes will pay a total of $459,130 to 28 employees, which includes $229,565 in back wages and an additional equal amount in liquidated damages for all affected employees who worked at either of the two restaurants from Oct. 5, 2013 to Oct. 10, 2015.

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