CAUTIONARY TALES EPISODE 4 « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Restaurant Hit with $274,000 In Assessments and Penalties For Underpaid and Unreported Workers

The California Labor Commissioner continues to promote her department’s aggressive pursuit of employers who do not comply with wage and hour laws. In August, she targeted a Chula Vista restaurant, Dorantes, Inc., doing business as La Querencia, for back pay to six workers totaling $164,688, plus another $110,150 in penalties.

La Querencia was reporting it had five employees, but investigators discovered there were 14. There were six workers who received no meal or rest breaks and were paid $50/day over a nearly three-year period no matter the hours they actually worked.

The company’s failure to comply with its legal obligations resulted in citations for:

  • $72,290 minimum wage underpayments
  • $1,735 unpaid overtime
  • $3,077 meal break violations
  • $3,234 rest break violations
  • $83,131 liquidated damages (the unpaid minimum wage amount plus interest)
  • $1,221 waiting time penalties (payable to former employees who did not receive their full wages on departure)

The company was also fined $54,500 for wage statement violations and assessed another $34,650 in civil penalties for minimum wage and overtime violations. The restaurant also received a $21,000 citation for insufficient workers’ compensation coverage.

The Labor Commissioner declared: “Honest business owners in California should not have to compete with businesses that skirt the law and deprive their workers of their hard-earned pay.”

Back wage and penalty assessments of this magnitude can easily close down a small business.  The clear lesson is to always pay minimum wage and overtime and encourage employees to take their required breaks. See also:

For more information, please contact one of our attorneys Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth, or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin

October 13, 2017