Two grocery stores in Richfield, MN are feeling the heat from the US Department of Labor.  An investigation has found that the employer failed to pay the correct overtime rate to its 49 employees at the two locations.

The Grocery stores involved are La Vaquita Shortstop Superette located at 7034 Cedar Ave. So. and La Vaquita 2 located at 607 E 77th St.  According to the Press Release, the stores are jointly owned and Mariela Jimenez manages their day-to-day operations and payrolls.

Photo by Google Maps
Photo by Google Maps

The lawsuit was filed following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor. Wage and Hour Division District Director Kristin Tout in Minneapolis explained:

Our investigation found Mariela Jimenez intentionally miscalculated wage rates to create the appearance she was complying with federal wage laws when, in fact, she was shortchanging employees at two Richfield grocery stores each pay period. The case shows that compliance with federal wage regulations is not open to interpretation or choice. It also demonstrates that the consequences for violating workers’ rights can be quite costly.

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The investigators reviewed payroll records from July of 2020 through March of 2023.  Some of the things learned during this investigation were that the company and Jimenez, according to the Press Release from the U.S. Department of Labor, did the following :

  • Used an artificially low hourly rate of pay and mislabeled wages as discretionary bonuses to mask their failure to pay required overtime wages.
  • Did not pay overtime rates to employees who worked at both locations when their combined hours exceeded 40 hours in a workweek.
  • Incorrectly categorized certain employees as executive or administrative employees exempt from overtime when, in fact, they should have been paid overtime.
  • Failed to maintain accurate time records as required.

If you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division use this search tool.  You can also file a complaint online.

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