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Local Mexican restaurant ordered to pay 71 employees $212,861

Bonito Michoacan Inc., a company that operates a chain of Mexican restaurants in Southern Nevada, has been ordered to pay $212,861 in back wages and liquidated damages to 71 employees after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigators on Monday reported the employer violated overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Investigators found Bonito Michoacan failed to pay employees overtime when they worked more than 40 hours per week. Instead, the company paid restaurant employees at their straight-time rates, in cash, for overtime hours, and recorded some of those payments as a “bonus” in payroll records.

“Employers are responsible for ensuring that they pay employees all the wages they have legally earned, including overtime, and for keeping accurate payroll records,” said Las Vegas-based Wage and Hour Division Assistant District Director Higinio Ramos. “The U.S. Department of Labor is eager to assist employers to comply with the law and avoid violations such as those found in this case.”

There is no civil penalty involved in the case, only the employer’s payment of back wages and damages to the employees. The case only entails the Bonito Michoacan restaurant and none of the other restaurants in the chain.

A representative of Bonito Michoacan did not return a call seeking comment from the company late Monday.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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