Two restaurants in California have been fined $1.9 million for a variety of wage and hour violations as the result of an investigation by state and federal labor agencies.
The fines mark the latest example of joint enforcement actions taken by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in cooperation with state labor agencies.
Fifteen states have entered into partnerships with WHD to coordinate investigations, make referrals to one another, share data and take other actions to combat wage theft. Known as the "Misclassification Initiative," these partnerships have focused primarily on the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. However, the partnerships, including California's, also cover other types of wage and hour violations such as minimum wages, overtime, and meal and rest breaks.
"We value this opportunity to work with our state colleagues to fully address both the state and federal labor violations …," Ruben Rosalez, WHD's regional administrator in the west, said in a statement.
California's labor department alleged the restaurants failed to pay $1.1 million worth of minimum wages, $377,000 worth of overtime and $154,000 worth of meal breaks owed to 47 workers during a three-year period stretching from June 2010 to June 2013. The department also assessed $189,000 in civil penalties and recordkeeping violations.