California restaurateurs fined for priest-confession scam to trick workers

The owners of a pair of taco restaurants in Northern California were ordered to pay $140,000 (NZD227,000) in back pay and damages to 35 employees for bringing in a purported priest to extract confessions of workplace misconduct.

Eduardo Hernandez, Hector Galindo and Alejandro Rodriguez also failed to pay overtime for time worked past a 40-hour workweek, illegally paid managers using the pool of tips given to employees, and implied that those who cooperated with federal investigators would face immigration issues, the Department of Labor announced last week.

The clerical caper was spurred by a Department of Labor investigation into overtime and record-keeping violations at the Taqueria Garibaldi locations in Sacramento and Roseville, California.

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