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November 04, 2003
Restaurant Workers to Receive Nearly $1M in Back Wages
A chain of Mexican restaurants will pay $943,455 in back wages to 331 cooks, dish washers, waiters, and busboys to settle a Department of Labor lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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The settlement followed an investigation into the pay practices at El Rancherito restaurants in 17 Illinois communities.

"Our priority at the Department of Labor is to protect workers, especially vulnerable, low-wage workers," says Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "As a result of the department's investigation, nearly $1 million in back wages are recovered for 331 workers. Most of the workers in this case are Hispanic, and don't speak English as their first language. The department is committed to aggressively enforcing the law on their behalf and ensuring they are paid the full wages they deserve."

Of the 19 restaurants included in the settlement, all but three operate under the name of El Rancherito. The three others are Los Potros, Quincy, Ill.; La Fonda, Edwardsville, Ill.; and El Vaquero, Mattoon, Ill.

Restaurant executives Daniel Angel Onate and Augustine Angel of El Rancherito, Inc. agreed to pay the back wages, according to the department.

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