L.A. El Pollo Loco Franchisee Fined $145K for Overtime Violations

The U.S. Labor Department has secured more than $145,000 in wages and damages for almost six dozen Southern California El Pollo Loco employees who did not receive overtime pay they were owed.

Sixty-nine workers employed at four franchise El Pollo Loco restaurants around Los Angeles will recover $72,613 in back wages and an equal amount in damages, according to a government press release. Many employees worked as many as 60 to 70 hours per week, six or seven consecutive days, but did not receive overtime pay.

The restaurants are located in Hacienda Heights, Torrance, La Mirada and Westwood. A franchisee headquartered in Hacienda Heights owns all four. 

West Covina District Office investigators found that the employer failed to compensate employees for time and a half for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek, as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Each of these workers can expect to get about $2,100.

“Restaurant employees work long hours to support themselves and their families and deserve the wages to which they are legally entitled,” said Danny Pasquil, the West Covina division’s district director. “The Wage and Hour Division is committed to compliance in the restaurant industry and will use every available tool to ensure workers get what they deserve.”

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the minimum wage ($9 in California) for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also are required to maintain accurate time and payroll records. The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are generally liable to employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.

The first American El Pollo Loco opened on Alvarado Street in Los Angeles in 1980. Now headquartered in Costa Mesa, the chain has more than 200 franchises throughout California.

For additional information about the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available here.

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