Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Sacramento taco chain withheld overtime from workers, kept part of their tips, feds say

- Tribune News Service The Sacramento Bee

The U.S. Secretary of Labor has filed a complaint against the owners of Sacramento’s Garibaldi Mexican restaurant chain, alleging they failed to pay proper overtime, kept part of workers’ tips and pressured employees not to cooperate once federal investigat­ors began looking into problems at the restaurant­s.

The complaint, filed by Labor Secretary Martin Walsh in federal court in Sacramento late Wednesday, claims violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act at the Taqueria Garibaldi chain’s restaurant­s on Howe Avenue near Alta Arden Expressway and

El Camino and Watt avenues in Arden Arcade, and a third eatery in Roseville on Fairway Drive.

The 12-page complaint names the Che Garibaldi company, restaurant owners Eduardo Hernandez and Hector Manual Martinez Galindo and Howe Avenue restaurant manager Alejandro Rodriguez, and says the chain employs more than 20 workers but deprived their workers of the wages they earn.

“A number of employees work over forty hours per week, some working over twelve hours per day,” the complaint says. “Defendants hired several employees to work in one position, but expect employees to perform a multitude of tasks once employed.

“For example, employees hired as servers were also instructed to cut vegetables; prepare meals; clean floors, windows, mirrors, and the bathroom; and operate as the cashier.”

The complaint says the chain paid workers by check for up to 40 hours of work, but paid cash for any overtime and failed to pay an overtime rate of 1 1/2 times the regular salary. The complaint also alleges supervisor­s and managers were allowed to keep a portion of workers’ tips and that it failed to “maintain accurate records of hours worked by and wages paid to their employees.”

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