Chicano’s Cocina Bar & Grill has to pay 21 employees $172,000 after denying them overtime pay, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hours Division said.

The division, which enforces the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, said Chicano failed to pay the overtime premium to kitchen salaried staff who worked more than 40 hours in a week.

In addition, the division found Chicano’s also failed to pay tipped employees the correct overtime premium when they worked more than 40 hours in a week.

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Chicano’s also failed to maintain accurate records, as required by the law.

Chicano’s owner Eduardo ‘Lalo’ Macias said he’s since upgraded his record-keeping system.

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Chicano’s Cocina Bar & Grill, seen on Wednesday, has failed to pay staff overtime and maintain accurate records.

He said the issue was confusion over when salaried employees were owed overtime.

“I want to pay fair wages,” he said.

Macias owns six restaurants in the Richmond area, including Lalo’s Margaritas, Lalo’s Pinches Tacos and Two Compadres, among others.

The federal labor standards law requires that most employees in the U.S. be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and that they be paid 1.5 times their normal hourly pay for all hours worked during a week above 40.

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Restaurant workers are particularly vulnerable to violations of the labor standards law.

Last year, the Mexican restaurant chain Plaza Azteca, which has multiple Virginia locations, agreed to pay $11.4 million in back wages and damages after a federal investigation found the company failed to pay employees required minimum wage and overtime compensation.

“People employed in the restaurant industry are often low-wage workers who depend on every dollar earned, including overtime pay, to help support themselves and their families,” said Roberto Melendez, Richmond district director for the Wage and Hour Division.

“When employers violate the rights of workers to be paid their full earnings, the U.S. Department of Labor will act to recover the wages illegally withheld.”