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Employer fined for hiring priest to make workers confess ‘workplace sins’

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Violations of labor standards

The court’s decision follows an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found Taqueria Garibaldi denied employees overtime pay for hours over 40 in a workweek, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The division also found that the employer paid managers from the employee tip pool illegally, threatened employees with retaliation and adverse immigration consequences for cooperating with the department, and fired one worker who they believed had complained to the department.

“Under oath, an employee of Taqueria Garibaldi explained how the restaurant offered a supposed priest to hear their workplace ‘sins’ while other employees reported that a manager falsely claimed that immigration issues would be raised by the department’s investigation,” said Marc Pilotin, regional solicitor of labor in San Francisco.

“This employer’s despicable attempts to retaliate against employees were intended to silence workers, obstruct an investigation and prevent the recovery of unpaid wages.”

Previously, one company – 811 Autoworks LLC, operating as AOK Walker Luxury Autoworks – and its owner – Miles Walker – were tasked to pay $39,934, representing back wages owed and an equal amount in liquidated damages, to nine workers.

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