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L.A.-area restaurant chain to pay nearly $104,000 for labor violations

A small Los Angeles-area restaurant chain will pay 33 of its workers a total of nearly $104,000 in back pay and damages, the U.S. Department of Labor said Tuesday.

A two-year Labor Department investigation found that three 3 Amigos Fresh Mexican Grill restaurants, owned by Leonardo Rodriguez, did not pay employees the required amount of time and one-half for overtime work, the agency said.

Hourly employees, including cooks, assistant managers and kitchen managers, were paid only their straight time rates, regardless of how many hours they worked, which is a violation of the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the Labor Department.

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“Other employers should take note of this investigation, and ensure that they are in compliance with the law,” Kimchi Bui, district director of the wage and hour division’s office in Los Angeles, said in a statement. “As the back wages and damages paid in this case illustrate, we are committed to ensuring that workers receive every penny they have rightfully earned.”

Rodriguez agreed to pay $51,806 in overtime back wages, in addition to an equal and separate amount of damages to total $103,613.

Reached for comment, Rodriguez acknowledged the fine and said, “Everything is good.”

The restaurants that were part of the investigation are located in Thousand Oaks, Woodland Hills and Newbury Park. 

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