Pancho's Inc., which conducts business as Pancho's MexicanRestaurant I, II and III, as well as Papa's and Beer MexicanRestaurant are to pay 85 employees $485,913 in back wages followinginvestigations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and HourDivision.

The investigations found violations of the Fair Labor StandardsAct's overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping provisions at eachrestaurant location and were conducted over a multiyear enforcementinitiative that targeted the restaurant industry in South Carolinaafter widespread noncompliance with the FLSA had been discovered.In fact, beginning in the fiscal year 2009, the division's ColumbiaDistrict Office had completed more than 300 investigations underthe initiative that ended in companies paying more than $2.5million in back wages recovered for more than 2,500 workers.

"We found many low-wage employees working up to 65 hours a weekwithout any overtime compensation and receiving pay below thefederal minimum wage,” says Michelle Garvey, director of thedivision's Columbia office. “Unfortunately, significant laborviolations like the ones we found in this case are all too commonin the restaurant industry. We are pleased that these workersfinally will be paid their rightful wages, and as demonstrated byour ongoing initiative, we will continue to investigate SouthCarolina restaurants to remedy violations and ensure sustainedcompliance with the law."

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