Workers win $108,000 judgment against Mission-area restaurant owners
Two former workers won a $108,000 judgement against a Mission-area restaurant last month after claiming the owners subjected them to deplorable working conditions and failed to pay overtime.
Sandro Alejandro Garcia Moreno and Jose Manuel Arciga Garcia worked at Pollos Medina, a chicken restaurant with locations in western Hidalgo County.
They worked long hours without any breaks or overtime pay, according to the lawsuit.
"They wouldn't let us eat or even go to the restroom," Arciga said. "Because those people only wanted us to work."
U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez determined the restaurant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and awarded about $65,300 to Arciga and about $42,700 to Garcia, according to federal court records.
"Defendants admit they knew Plaintiffs worked over 40 hours in a week, knew of the minimum wage and knew of the overtime rate of time and half during Plaintiffs’ employment, and did not pay Plaintiffs at least the minimal hourly wage," according to Alvarez's opinion.
Alvarez also ordered the defendants to pay $18,340 for attorneys fees.
Attorney Efren C. Olivares, the regional legal director at the Texas Civil Rights Project, said the opinion sends a message to unscrupulous employers.
"It's about the many, many workers out there on which the economy depends," Olivares said. "So it's important for us to know that those are rights that the courts will uphold, as we saw in this case."
CBS 4 News contacted the attorney for the defendants, but couldn't reach them for comment.
Pollos Medina is now under new ownership.