The owner of four La Estrella Tacos & Seafood restaurants in Manteca has agreed to pay $824,405 in back wages and damages to 102 workers after not paying overtime hours, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

An investigation from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found Juan Francisco Fonseca in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires overtime pay rates after 40 hours, and determined that he also failed to maintain accurate and complete payroll records. 

Francisco Fonseca is the owner of La Estrella Tacos & Seafood that operates under different cooperation’s at the four locations.

Investigators said the business owner allegedly attempted to avoid paying employees overtime by creating different corporations and didn’t combine the hours worked at multiple locations for overtime pay calculations.

The Department of Labor alleged that some employees who had over 26 overtime hours per week were still paid their regular pay rates.

 “Restaurants with workers at more than one location cannot simply move employees between establishments in the same workweek to avoid overtime pay,” Wage and Hour Division district director Cesar Avila said in a statement on Thursday. “This employer’s costly disregard for their workers’ rights has also resulted in the assessment of civil money penalties.”

The restaurant was additionally assessed $50,320 in penalties for willful overtime violations.

Victoria Franco is a Stockton-based reporter covering the diverse news around the Central Valley as part of the Report for America program. As a Stockton native, Franco is proud to cover stories within her community and report a variety of coverage. She is a San Jose State University alumna with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. In her collegiate years she was Managing Editor for the Spartan Daily. From her time at the Spartan Daily she helped lead her staff to California College Media Awards and a General Excellence first place. Victoria encourages readers to email her story tips and ideas at [email protected].