Crepevine's Palo Alto location was one of the five locations cited in the investigation. Photo by Magali Gauthier.
A federal investigation by the U.S Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has found that Suleiman Fakhouri & Sons, owner of Bay Area restaurant chain Crepevine, failed to provide proper overtime pay to 114 workers at five of the chain’s locations, including two on the Peninsula.
Additional violations listed in a July 11 press release from the Department of Labor include child labor law violations, such as scheduling 14- and 15-year-old employees to work past 7 p.m., more than three hours on school nights and more than 18 hours during the school week.
According to the press release, Fakhouri & Sons failed to keep wage and hours records for employees, failed to combine hours for employees who worked at more than one location, paid overtime hours at standard operating rates rather than special overtime rates and did not keep records of cash payments for overtime.
Crepevine’s restaurants in Palo Alto, Berkeley, Burlingame, Oakland and San Jose were the five locations cited in the investigation. The Department of Labor determined a total of $500,000 in damages by accounting for $234,636 in back wages and another $234,636 in liquidated damages due to issues that arose for employees who were paid improperly, such as struggles with paying bills on time. Due to the restaurant chain’s willful violations, in which Fakhouri & Sons knowingly failed to comply with legal labor requirements, the Wage and Hour Division fined Crepevine another $82,706 in civil money penalties.
“The onus is on employers to ensure their employees are paid fully and that workers receive all of the protections they are due,” said Susan Blanco, Wage and Division district director, in the press release.
Sandra Ochoa, manager of Crepevine’s Palo Alto location, declined to comment on Crepevine’s failure to pay proper overtime hours, but she claimed the child labor violations in the report were dramatized as she only remembers “one instance” in the investigation’s two-year period where minors left work an hour and a half later than regulations at 8:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. The manager of Crepevine’s Burlingame location declined to comment.
The restaurant chain, which has been operating since 1992, has another location on the Peninsula in Mountain View and three other locations in the Bay Area that were not part of the investigation.
The Wage and Hour Division encourages employees to report wage theft by submitting an online complaint or calling 866-487-9243.