Chachi’s ordered to pay employees $45,700 in back wages for overtime worked
LAS CRUCES - A group of Las Cruces restaurants has been ordered by the United States Department of Labor to pay its employees $45,700 in back wages for overtime hours the employees worked during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency announced Tuesday.
An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Chachi’s LLC — which operates Chachi’s Mexican Restaurant and Chachi’s Express, both on Locust Avenue in Las Cruces, and Chachi’s Doña Ana at 505 Joe Gutierrez St. in Doña Ana — owed its workers unpaid overtime.
Amid the pandemic, many restaurant workers suffered lost or reduced wages when businesses closed or were forced to limit or suspend indoor dining, the agency stated, finding that restaurant workers at Chachi’s were “shortchanged.”
The investigators found Chachi’s LLC did not pay workers overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, as is required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
The division’s investigation led to the recovery of $45,700 in back wages for 22 workers.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reached out to Chachi's owner Gabriel Montoya, who was not available for comment.
“Failure to pay workers all of their hard-earned overtime is bad business and it cheats employees and competitors,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Evelyn Ortiz in Albuquerque in an agency news release. “As an employer, Chachi’s LLC must comply with federal worker protections. Amid the pandemic, restaurant employees — like many other frontline workers — put themselves at risk to earn a living and keep businesses open. The last thing they should have to worry about is being shortchanged by their employer.”
Workers seeking information about the Fair Labor Standards Act and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division can contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information about the division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected, are on the Department of Labor’s website. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions — regardless of their immigration status — and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages, the release stated.
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