ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Old Town restaurant is accused of failing to pay its employees a legal wage. The District Attorney, Workforce Solutions, and the City of Albuquerque are suing Hacienda Del Rio Restaurant.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday on behalf of 33 employees, claims they were not paid for all the time they worked, were not given the minimum wage, and sometimes had their tips stolen. When they were paid, some employees got bad checks.
“The folks that are making these minimum wages, they are the ones living paycheck to paycheck. When you steal from them you are taking away from their ability to feed their children, pay their rent, fix their car, all the things we take for granted,” Bill McCamley, Cabinet Secretary of Workforce Solutions, said.
A former restaurant employee, John Sais says he worked for Hacienda del Rio in the summer of 2018. A high school student who was aiming to save money, Sais says he realized he was underpaid after counting his hours.
“You know it just feels like you’ve been betrayed,” said Sais. “Like you’ve been wronged by society, you think that it’s not going to happen to you … I never thought such a thing, that your employer can just get away from not paying your wages.”
A few years ago, four former workers filed a lawsuit against Hacienda, making similar claims. In that case, a judge ordered the restaurant to pay more than $40,000. As of last year, employees claimed they still hadn’t received the money.