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Owner of a Hobart eatery ordered to reimburse thousands of workers for unpaid overtime



Hammond, Indiana – After underpaying 13 employees overtime and forcing them to return the money, the owner and management of a Mexican restaurant in Lake County will be forced to pay over $80,000 in back wages and damages.

In 2021, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor began an inquiry.

According to a release issued on Tuesday, federal investigators discovered that Richard Serrano, the proprietor of El Capitan Seafood and Mexican Restaurant in Hobart, Indiana, failed to properly compensate employees for overtime for at least two years, from June 2019 to June 2021.

Employers are required by the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide time and half of their usual compensation to employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Rather, the employers allegedly “failed to maintain accurate records of employee hours worked and pay received” and paid their employees “straight time.”

These two things are against the Fair Labor Standards Act.

After the 2021 inquiry, Serrano and Luis Fernando Jimenez, the manager of the restaurant, decided to reimburse his staff for lost wages.

However, during this examination, authorities discovered that Serrano forced his workers to return overtime repayments, and they were also required to reimburse liquidated damages.

Serrano, Jimenez, and the business will be required to reimburse the workers for liquidated damages and arrears totaling $78,799 in total.

Additionally, they were requested to commit to future Fair Labor Standards Act compliance in all of the group’s restaurants by giving workers correct information about hours worked, wages paid, etc.

Northwest Indiana’s Hobart is located fifteen minutes southeast of Gary.





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