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Portland Restaurant Jumps Out of Frying Pan and Into the Fire.

Posted by Barry Rubin on 10/10/2016
Portland Restaurant Jumps Out of Frying Pan and Into the Fire.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigated the termination of a cook at La Iguana Restaurant in Portland that occurred less than a week after the division informed the company it owed $25,427 in back wages to nine employees for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act found in a previous investigation. An issue that could have been simply avoided by the use of an inexpensive time clock system that would integrate seamlessly with the restaurant point of sale system.

The division’s investigation reviewed alleged violations of the FLSA’s anti-retaliation protections. The employer mistakenly believed the worker, employed by the company for 13 years, filed a complaint with the division. Federal law prohibits an employer from firing or discriminating against any employee who files a complaint with the division. The FLSA also protects employees who complain about wage or safety issues to their employers or who cooperate with federal investigations.

"We want to send a very clear message to employers that retaliation will not be tolerated, under any circumstances,” said Betty Campbell, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “Without strong protections for exploited workers who find the courage to step forward, those subject to violations would remain in the shadows. Undocumented workers are particularly vulnerable to retaliation in the workplace. The law is very clear: the Wage and Hour division enforces the law regardless of a person’s immigration status.”