Appeals Court Rules Owner Of Tulsa's El Tequila Restaurant Owes Back Wages, Damages To Workers
TULSA, Oklahoma - An appeals court affirmed a federal judge's ruling that the owner of Tulsa restaurant El Tequila owes more than 300 employees $2.1 million in back wages and damages.
The federal judge overturned a jury's verdict, ruling that owner Carlos Aguirre willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act in regard to minimum wage, overtime and record keeping.
According to the Department of Labor's investigation, Aguirre kept two sets of books, one that showed his employees were paid by the hour and got overtime for any hours over 40 per week. In truth, according to court documents, Aguirre admitted to paying the employees a weekly salary that did not include overtime.
Court documents also show Aguirre provided false records to his accountant that hid the number of hours employees actually worked and admitted before the jury that he falsified pay records.
"In the face of defendant Carlos Aguirre’s many admissions, no reasonable jury could have found that the defendants did not willfully violate the Fair Labor Standards Act during the relevant time period," the decision states.
The circuit judge ruling was filed Tuesday, February 7, 2017, affirming the decision of the federal judge made in January, 2016.